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DIY Divorce Guide

Overview of the New York Divorce Process

Complete divorce guide with state requirements and laws.
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New York Online Divorce Basics

This is a reference guide to understanding the NYS divorce process. Each state has its own requirements, laws, and documentation, so we decided to gather it all in one location to make it easy and quick for you to find the New York divorce information you need before, during and after your divorce.

Divorce in New York Made Easy

  • Time Frame: The average time to receive an uncontested divorce in New York is 10 weeks.
  • Where to File: Supreme Court. "Supreme Court of the State of New York, __________ County".
  • State Statutes: New York Domestic Relations Law, Article 1-15.
  • Name of Action: Judgment of Divorce.
  • Name of Parties: Plaintiff, the name of the filer, and Defendant, the name of the other party.
  • No-Fault or Fault and No-Fault Only: Both no-fault and fault.
  • Primary Documents Filed: Complaint for Divorce and Judgment of Divorce.
  • Physical Separation Required: For no-fault, no.
  • Separation Time to File: None.
  • Legal Separation Permitted: Yes.
  • Grounds: No fault: Irretrievable breakdown, which means the relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months; fault: cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment for a continuous period of one year or more, imprisonment for more than three years subsequent to the marriage, and adultery.
  • Residency Requirement: One spouse must be a resident of New York for one year, but if the spouses were married outside of the state, they must live in the state for two years before filing for divorce. There are circumstances that reduce the two-year requirement to one year.
  • Mediation Required: There are no legal provisions in New York for divorce mediation.
  • Counseling Required: There are no legal provisions exist in New York for divorce counseling.
  • Parenting Classes Required: In general, parenting classes are only required when deemed necessary by a judge.
  • Filing fee: An uncontested divorce costs at least $335 in total court and filing fees. (See NY Filing Fee Waiver Form)
  • Where to File for Child Support: A New York child support calculation provides an amount adjusted by reducing the gross income by Medicare, FICA and local NYC taxes. Under certain circumstances, the court deviates from the formula, and may consider other factors in setting child support. New York based child support on the Income Shares Model, calculated on net income.

The Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) - which operates through the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance - can try to locate non-custodial parents who have slipped through the cracks in the system. Through New Hire Reporting Directories, credit bureaus, IRS data, and more, DCSE can help find the non-custodial parent in order to establish or enforce a child support order.

  • Property Division: New York is an equitable distribution state that uses the dual classification routine.
  • Appreciation of Separate Property: the appreciation of separate property is separate, but the increase in value of separate property that occurs during the marital period may be divided under the equitable distribution system.
  • Attendance at Hearing: No, unless the action is grounded on adultery. If adultery is the grounds used, not only does the filing spouse need to go to Court, but he or she also needs to take a witness who can corroborate the allegation of adultery.
  • Fault Considered in Property Division: The court does not consider marital misconduct, but economic misconduct - for example, the dissipation of assets in support of drug addiction or gambling or the secretion of assets or the maintenance of a paramour - may result in a compensatory property award to the victim spouse.
  • Waiting period after Divorce for Remarriage: None.
  • Ways to Serve Spouse: Process may either be served in person or by mail. When a spouse is missing, service by publication allows for a constructive notice. Special conditions apply for service of process in New York City.
  • In 2010, New York became the last of the jurisdictions to permit no-fault divorce, when it added a new ground -- Irretrievable breakdown for six months -- as a no-fault ground. In so doing, New York became the last jurisdiction to offer no-fault. California cut the path toward no-fault in 1969.
  • Divorce Records: The Vital Records of New York State Department of Health

The State of New York has and maintains the vital records for divorce. Once the judge signs the Judgment of Divorce, the vital stats form is then filed with the State. If you need a copy of the actual Judgment of Divorce, then you need to contact the New York county court where the divorce was originally filed and finalized. The Vital Records of New York State Department of Health only provides copies of divorce certificates, which is a summary of the divorce only.

Only the former spouses can request the divorce certificate with proper identification, but others who have valid reasons or a court order can request divorce certificates as well. When applying for divorce certificates, you need a valid photo I.D. or a utility bill that shows your address. If you do not provide valid identification, the application is rejected and not processed.

There are several ways to request your divorce certificate. You can request it by mail by downloading and filling out the application, mailing the application with the applicable fee using a credit card. You can also call in your order or use the Internet and place the order online. You still process payment using a credit card (no can or checks are accepted), but this way of ordering on the New York State Department of Health website takes approximately 5 to 10 business days. If you need it quicker, you can pay an additional fee to have the certificate delivered overnight. If you are able to, you can also go to the Vital Records customer service lobby, which is located at 800 North Pearl Street in Menands, New York.


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