Are you considering filing for a divorce in New York State? Before you take the plunge, it's important to understand the legal requirements and process for obtaining a divorce. We've helped hundreds of clients obtain quick, easy and convenient divorces without needing to appear in court or visit the office. In New York, you must meet the residency requirement and have a legally acceptable reason for divorce. The most common reasons are adultery, abandonment, cruel and inhuman treatment, and imprisonment.
You can also file for a divorce after a legal separation agreement or court-ordered legal separation. To be valid, the agreement must include certain elements, so it's best to consult an attorney. Once you have the agreement or court order, you must live separately and apart for one year before you can get a divorce. To begin the process, you must purchase an index number and file the subpoena with the county clerk's office.
Then, you must give your spouse a copy of the subpoena and hand them the document in person. The server must be a resident of New York State, over eighteen years old, and cannot be a party to the lawsuit. New York is now a no-fault divorce state. This means that you can get a divorce on the grounds that the marriage has been irretrievably broken.
If you're filing for an uncontested divorce and you think your spouse won't disagree with anything, then you can file for it without the help of an attorney through the do-it-yourself divorce without challenge program, available on the New York State Courts website. You can also obtain a limited divorce in New York. This is similar to an absolute divorce with the main difference being that the parties cannot remarry. To get a limited divorce, you must comply with residency requirements, grounds, and other legally prescribed laws just as you would in an absolute divorce case.
If you have a low income, you can get an attorney appointed during the divorce to handle custody and visitation matters but not division of property or support issues. Each divorce case is based on its own merits and, in general, the acts or conduct on which the divorce is based must have occurred within the past five years. For more information on divorce in New York State, including an informational video, forms and a glossary of legal terms, visit the New York courts website.