Uncontested Divorce in New York

by ECL Writer
Uncontested Divorce in New York

Even in the best-case scenario, divorce can be traumatic. But a protracted, expensive legal struggle is not necessary. An uncontested divorce in New York can save you money and time if you and your spouse can agree on how to handle the legal, financial, and practical aspects of ending your marriage. In this article, Eastcoastlaws.com will outline all you need to know about Uncontested Divorce in New York.

What Is Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is a type of divorce in which both parties agree on all terms, including property division, child custody and support, and alimony. This type of divorce typically moves more quickly through the legal system and is less costly than a contested divorce, in which the parties do not agree on one or more terms. In order to file for an uncontested divorce, both parties must typically complete and file a petition for divorce, as well as other required legal documents. The divorce is considered “uncontested” when the other party does not respond or does not contest the divorce.

How To Qualify For An Uncontested Divorce In New York

To qualify for an uncontested divorce in New York, the following criteria must be met:

  1. Residency: At least one of the parties must have been a resident of the state for at least two years prior to filing for divorce.
  2. Grounds for Divorce: New York recognizes several grounds for divorce, including irreconcilable differences and adultery. Both parties must agree on the grounds for divorce.
  3. Separation Agreement: An uncontested divorce in New York requires that the parties have a written separation agreement outlining the terms of the divorce, such as property division, child custody and support, and alimony.
  4. Service of process: The divorce papers must be served on the other party.
  5. Waiting period: There is a waiting period of at least 120 days from the time of filing before the divorce can be finalized.
  6. Both parties must be in agreement, and there should be no disputes or disagreements on any issue.

It is important to note that the above information is a general overview and that specific procedures and requirements may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the facts of the case. It is always recommended to consult a lawyer before proceeding with an uncontested divorce in New York, to ensure that the process is done correctly and all legal requirements are met.

Preparing The Uncontested Divorce Forms

Preparing the forms for an uncontested divorce in New York typically involves the following steps:

  1. Obtain the necessary forms: The forms required for an uncontested divorce in New York can be obtained from the county clerk’s office or online. The most important forms include the Summons with Notice or the Summons and Complaint and the Verified Complaint for Divorce.
  2. Complete the forms: Both parties must complete the forms, providing information such as personal details and the grounds for divorce. It is important to ensure that all information provided is accurate and complete.
  3. Sign the forms: Both parties must sign the forms in front of a notary public or other authorized official.
  4. File the forms: The forms must be filed with the county clerk’s office in the county where either party resides. The filing fee will typically need to be paid at the time of filing.
  5. Serve the forms: The other party must be served with the divorce papers. This can be done by having a process server personally deliver the papers, or by having the papers delivered by mail with a return receipt requested.
  6. Prepare a Separation Agreement: A separation agreement is a document outlining the terms of the divorce, including property division, child custody and support, and alimony. Both parties should prepare it and have it notarized.

It is important to note that the above information is a general overview, and specific procedures and requirements may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the facts of the case. It is always recommended to consult a lawyer before proceeding with an uncontested divorce, to ensure that the process is done correctly and all legal requirements are met.

There are certain divorce forms and instructions available online from the New York State court system. Depending on whether you and your spouse have children, different packages of forms and instructions are available:

The main forms to start the uncontested divorce process are:

  • Summons and Verified Complaint (or Summons with Notice), which include the ground for your divorce as well as the “relief” you’re requesting—meaning the issues you want to be addressed in your case
  • the plaintiff’s affidavit
  • your separation agreement
  • a partially completed Judgment of Divorce, and
  • various standard notices.

You’ll need to prepare other forms if you have children under 21, including a child support worksheet and an income worksheet.

Uncontested Divorce in New York
Image – Pexels.com

Filing And Serving Your Uncontested Divorce Paperwork

Once you’ve completed and signed the applicable forms, you’ll have to file them with the court. Generally, you’ll do this by bringing copies in person to the Supreme Court Clerk’s office of the county where you’re starting the divorce. You can usually file divorce papers in the New York county where either you or your spouse lives, or where a “substantial part of the events” that led to your divorce happened. (N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 503(a) (2022).) If you’d prefer not to hand-deliver your documents to the court, check with the clerk’s office about the possibility of using the state’s electronic filing system.

The clerk will assign you an index number when you file your divorce documents. On every other document you submit in connection with your divorce case, you must provide that number. In addition to regular filing fees, there is a fee for the index number (more on that below).

Once you file the divorce complaint with the court, it has to be “served on” (delivered to) your spouse. You must serve your spouse with a copy of the initial divorce forms within 120 days of filing them. If you don’t, the court may dismiss the divorce complaint. (N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 306-b (2022).)

The documents must be personally served on someone other than you. Any resident of New York who is at least 18 years old, isn’t directly involved in the divorce, and lives in the state where you and your spouse are divorcing may deliver the divorce papers. However, most people choose to utilize a professional process server or the sheriff’s department. Consult the clerk’s office for more information on the specific rules that apply for serving your spouse if they reside outside of New York State.

Steps To Get A Final Uncontested Divorce In New York

The steps to get a final uncontested divorce in New York typically involve the following:

  1. Wait for the waiting period: After the divorce papers have been filed and served, there is a waiting period of at least 120 days before the divorce can be finalized.
  2. File an Affidavit of Defendant: The defendant must file an Affidavit of Defendant with the court, indicating that they have received the divorce papers and do not contest the divorce.
  3. File a Stipulation of Settlement: Both parties must file a Stipulation of Settlement with the court, outlining the terms of the divorce, such as property division, child custody and support, and alimony.
  4. File a Judgment of Divorce: After the waiting period, both parties must file a Judgment of Divorce with the court, formally ending the marriage.
  5. Attend a Final Hearing: A final hearing will be scheduled, at which the judge will review the divorce papers and approve the divorce if all requirements are met. The judge will also review the separation agreement and approve it if it is fair and reasonable.
  6. Obtain the Divorce Decree: Once the divorce is approved by the judge, the parties will receive a Divorce Decree, which is the legal document ending the marriage.

The above information is a general overview, and specific procedures and requirements may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the facts of the case. If there are children involved, the court may also schedule a hearing to ensure that the children’s best interests are protected. It is always recommended to consult a lawyer before proceeding with an uncontested divorce, to ensure that the process is done correctly and all legal requirements are met.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Uncontested Divorce In New York?

The length of time it takes to get an uncontested divorce in New York can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the court’s schedule and the complexity of the case. Typically, the process can take several months to complete, from the time the divorce papers are filed to the time the divorce is finalized.

In New York, there is a waiting period of at least 120 days from the time of filing before the divorce can be finalized. This waiting period is mandatory, and the divorce cannot be finalized until this time has passed. Once the divorce papers are filed and served, the defendant must file an Affidavit of Defendant with the court, indicating that they have received the divorce papers and do not contest the divorce. After that, both parties must file a Stipulation of Settlement with the court, outlining the terms of the divorce, such as property division, child custody and support, and alimony.

After the waiting period, both parties must file a Judgment of Divorce with the court, formally ending the marriage. After that, a final hearing will be scheduled, at which the judge will review the divorce papers and approve the divorce if all requirements are met. Once the divorce is approved by the judge, the parties will receive a Divorce Decree, which is the legal document ending the marriage.

It is important to note that the above information is a general overview, and specific procedures and requirements may vary depending on the jurisdiction and the facts of the case. It is always recommended to consult a lawyer before proceeding with an uncontested divorce, to ensure that the process is done correctly and all legal requirements are met.

How Much Does An Uncontested Divorce Cost In New York?

The cost of an uncontested divorce in New York can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the county in which the divorce is filed and the complexity of the case.

The filing fee for an uncontested divorce in New York typically ranges from $300 to $450, but it can vary depending on the county where the divorce is filed.

Additionally, you may need to pay for other services, such as a process server to deliver the divorce papers, or a notary to notarize the divorce papers.

You may also need to pay for a lawyer to review the separation agreement and the divorce papers, and to advise you on the legal process. The cost of hiring a lawyer can vary, but it may range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the lawyer’s experience and the complexity of the case.

Also, note that the above information is a general overview and the cost of an uncontested divorce can vary depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, and it’s always recommended to consult a lawyer to get a better estimate and to ensure that the process is done correctly and all legal requirements are met.

Do I Have To Go To Court For An Uncontested Divorce In New York?

In most cases, both parties do not have to appear in court for an uncontested divorce in New York. The divorce process can typically be completed without either party having to go to court, as long as all the paperwork is in order and both parties are in agreement.

A final hearing is typically scheduled after the waiting period, at which the judge will review the divorce papers and approve the divorce if all requirements are met. In this hearing, the judge will also review the separation agreement and approve it if it is fair and reasonable. One or both of the parties may need to attend the final hearing, but it will depend on the court’s schedule and the case’s circumstances.

It is important to note that if there are children involved, the court may schedule a hearing to ensure that the children’s best interests are protected.

It is always recommended to consult a lawyer before proceeding with an uncontested divorce, to ensure that the process is done correctly and all legal requirements are met. A lawyer can advise you on whether or not you will need to appear in court, and can represent you at the final hearing if necessary.

Leave a Comment

This blog is ONLY for informational or educational purposes and DOES NOT substitute professional legal advise. We take no responsibility or credit for what you do with this info.