NY Uncontested Divorce FAQ

What is an uncontested divorce?

What are the “grounds” for divorce?

Does "No-fault" mean that my spouse does not need to sign the divorce papers?

I recently moved to New York, am I eligible for a New York divorce?

If I married in another country, can I file divorce in NY?

If I do not have a social security number, can I file for divorce?

How long will my divorce take?

Must I use a process server for service of the divorce papers?

What if my spouse refuses to sign the papers after he or she is served?

Will I need to make any court appearances?

What happens if an uncontested divorce becomes contested?

What if I can't find my spouse

How long do I need to be married before I can file for divorce?

 

Q. What is an uncontested divorce?

A. An "uncontested" divorce, as apposed to a "contested" divorce, is where both spouses agree with respect to all issues concerning the dissolution of their marriage. That is, both spouses must want the divorce and agree on issues relating to the grounds for the divorce, custody of the children, visitation rights, child support, spousal maintenance as well as an equitable division of the marital property. If all issues can be resolved before the divorce is filed, neither party must appear in court and the divorce can be filed as "uncontested" from inception.

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Q. What are the "grounds" for divorce?

A. The “grounds” for a divorce is nothing more than a legally recognized reason for the dissolution of a marriage. As of October 14, 2010, New York is a “no-fault” state. That is, New
York now recognizes “no-fault” actions for divorce based upon the “breakdown of a marriage”
for a period of more than six (6) months. In New York, a judgment of divorce may be granted
based upon one or more of the following recognized causes of action:

Each case is unique. Upon reviewing your particulars, our preparers will be sure to explain the
various grounds and their significance.

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Q. DOES “NO-FAULT” MEAN THAT MY SPOUSE DOES NOT NEED TO SIGN THE DIVORCE PAPERS?

A. In short, No. “No-fault” is simply a newly enacted grounds for divorce that does not assign
blame to either party or require a prolonged waiting period for commencing an action for
divorce. Divorces based upon grounds of “no-fault” require the same process and procedures
as the traditionally recognized grounds for divorce. In order to proceed with any action for
divorce your spouse must be properly served or accept service of the Summons by signing an
Affidavit of Defendant.

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Q. I recently moved to New York, am I eligible for a New York divorce?

A. That depends. New York maintains specific “residency” requirements that must be met before a couple can file for divorce within the State. In order for the court to accept your case, you and your spouse must fall into one of the “residency” circumstances outlined below:

If this seems somewhat confusing, don’t worry. One of our preparers will explain the residency requirements and determine which best applies to your situation.

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Q. If I married in another country, can I file divorce in NY?

A. Yes, it does not matter where you married, as long as you are a resident of NY State, you can file in NY.

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Q. How long will my divorce take?

A. That depends on the level of cooperation we get from your spouse. If you and your spouse
have come to an agreement regarding the division of property, child support payments, custody
and visitation, then all that remains is to file a civil uncontested divorce. That faster your spouse
signs and returns the necessary paperwork, the faster it can be finalized and filed with your local county clerk’s office. If everything runs smoothly, you may receive a Judgment of Divorce in as little as 8-16 weeks (varies by county) from the date we file your note of issue, pleadings and signed affidavits.

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Q. Must I use a process server for service of the divorce papers?

A. Using a process server will ensure that your spouse has been properly served according to statutory provisions. Process service also provides the proof of service required to finalize your divorce. If you are certain that your spouse will sign and return the divorce papers (effectively admitting service) then using a process server will not be necessary. Otherwise, to ensure that your case does not expire due to your spouses failure to sign and return the papers in a timely manner, we recommend you use a process server, however any one over the age of 18 will suffice.

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Q. If I do not have a social security number, can I file for divorce?

A. A. Yes, you can, provided you sign an affidavit stating you do not have a social security number.

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Q. What if my spouse refuses to sign the papers after he or she is served?

A. Generally, in an uncontested matter, after your spouse is served he or she has the option of signing what is called a "Defendant's Affidavit of Consent" which essentially allows the divorce to be immediately placed on the courts calendar, waiving all applicable time periods. If, however, your spouse fails to sign the "Affidavit of Consent" which will be provided, you will be required to wait 40 days after the date of such service in order to proceed with the final steps.

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Q. Will I need to make any court appearances?

A. As long as your divorce remains uncontested, you will not have to make any court appearances.

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Q. What happens if an uncontested divorce becomes contested?

A. This is always a possibility. After your spouse is served with the divorce papers, he or she may decide to contest the divorce. Often times, a divorce may be contested where the defendant spouse does not agree with the specified grounds for divorce, the relief sought, demands for support, or the terms of property division or child custody arrangements. If this happens, then your uncontested divorce becomes contested and it will cost you (and your spouse) significantly more in legal fees (and time, including court appearances).

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Q. What if I can't find my spouse??

A.We have a database to search. It is recommended that you talk to us in person.

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Q.How long do I need to be married before I can file for divorce?

A. More than 6 months.

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