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Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Monday, August 12, 2019

How Do I Start the Divorce Process?

If you are ready to begin the divorce process, there are two important things that you need to know. Before beginning the divorce process, you need to meet the state residency requirements for divorce in New York and have at least one ground for divorce. If you do not meet the residency requirement or have a ground for divorce, you may need the assistance of a New York divorce attorney to determine if you can file for divorce in New York.

What Are the Residency Requirements and Grounds for a Divorce in New York?

There are several ways to establish residency for a divorce. If a couple lived in New York continuously for two years, they meet the residency requirement. The residency requirement is met if either of the spouses lived in New York for at least one year and resided in the state as a married couple, were married in the state, or the grounds for divorce occurred within the state.

There are seven legally acceptable grounds for divorce in New York:

  • Adultery
  • Divorce After a Legal Separation
  • Divorce After a Judgment of Separation
  • Abandonment
  • Inhuman and Cruel Treatment
  • Imprisonment
  • No-fault Divorce (the irretrievable breakdown of the marital relationship for at least six months)

Filing for an Uncontested Divorce in New York

If you meet the above requirements, you should be able to file for an uncontested divorce without any issues. Both spouses must agree to all issues regarding the divorce to file for an uncontested divorce. The basic steps in the divorce process for an uncontested divorce are:

  • Filing a Summons and Complaint with the court with the payment of the filing fee.
  • Serve the defendant (the spouse who did not file the petition with the court) with a copy of the Summons and Complaint.
  • The defendant may respond to the complaint by filing a copy of the response with the court and serving a copy on the plaintiff (the spouse who filed the complaint), but a response is not required by law.
  • The matter is scheduled on the court’s calendar for a hearing.
  • The matter is heard by a judge who decides whether granting a divorce is appropriate.

Individuals may file for an uncontested divorce without an attorney. However, the above steps are general steps and do not include everything you may need to do to obtain a divorce.

If you have minor children or the grounds for the divorce are anything other than a no-fault divorce, you may want to consult a New York divorce attorney before proceeding. Even a “simple no-fault” divorce case can quickly become complicated, resulting in an outcome you did not desire.

Contested Divorces in New York Require an Attorney

If you and your spouse do not agree to all the terms of the divorce, your divorce is a contested matter. Contested matters are scheduled for a trial so that both parties may present evidence that supports the position they take regarding various issues related to the divorce. Parties may disagree regarding custody, visitation, alimony, and property division.

While the court cannot force someone to retain an attorney, it is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of an attorney for a contested divorce. An attorney can help you build a strong case to protect your best interests and the best interests of your children. Many contested divorces typically involve complex legal issues, discovery, depositions, investigations, and experts. Having an experienced attorney on your side can prevent your spouse from taking what belongs to you.

Contact a New York Divorce Attorney Now for More Information

The divorce process in New York can be simple for an uncontested no-fault divorce. However, many people find that having the advice and guidance of a New York divorce attorney is more than worth the fee for hiring the attorney. Before you begin the divorce process, you may want to meet with an attorney to discuss your situation in detail. Contact Gassman Baiamonte Gruner, P.C. to speak with a New York divorce lawyer today.


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