Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

What Is an Uncontested Divorce?

Even though spouses may decide that they want to end their marriage that does not necessarily translate into a lengthy, costly court battle. With the assistance of an experienced New York family law lawyer, you and your spouse can resolve your differences through an uncontested divorce proceeding. In most cases, an uncontested divorce is the most efficient and cost-effective means of ending a marriage in New York.

What Is a New York Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is sometimes referred to as a no-fault divorce. Neither party contests the fact that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If either party contests that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the other party must prove one of the grounds for divorce in New York, such as infidelity or abandonment.

However, the parties must agree on all other issues to be decided in the divorce to use the uncontested divorce process. For example, there cannot be any disagreement regarding child custody, visitation, or child support. There must also be an agreement regarding the division of marital assets, division of marital debts, and spousal support. If there is any disagreement regarding even one marital issue, the divorce becomes a contested matter.

How Do I File for an Uncontested Divorce?

The New York State Unified Court System provides information for filing an uncontested divorce on its website. Individuals can use the forms provided by the state to file an uncontested divorce if they meet all requirements for obtaining an uncontested divorce in New York. However, the court system will not provide legal advice to individuals who decide to file for divorce without an attorney.

Do I Need a New York Family Attorney to File an Uncontested Divorce?

New York divorce laws do not require you to hire a divorce lawyer to petition the court for an uncontested divorce. However, dividing assets and debts, determining support, and deciding the best way to handle child custody can be challenging, even for couples who agree on most issues. A divorce attorney provides the legal advice, guidance, and support you need as you navigate the divorce system.

For example, dividing retirement plans can be complicated and result in significant tax liabilities if you do not utilize a QDRO (qualified domestic relations order) to divide the assets held in a retirement plan. Child custody arrangements can have a substantial impact on the amount of child support you pay or receive.

Having an attorney to explain the legal consequences of your decisions during an uncontested divorce can increase the chance that you receive the outcome you desire. Additionally, there may be some issues that you may not have considered that could impact your divorce or your family’s future. An attorney helps you consider all matters, even potential matters that could arise later during the divorce proceeding.

You are entitled to seek advice from a New York family attorney during a divorce proceeding, including uncontested divorces. Contact Gassman Baiamonte Gruner, P.C. to speak with a New York divorce attorney today.

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