NEW YORK DIVORCE MADE EASY. DOCUMENTS DONE RIGHT!
New York 3StepDivorce TM - Keeping Your Uncontested Divorce Simple
This easy to use online divorce is a "do it yourself (without a lawyer)" solution for any uncontested divorce (with or without children) that will be filed in the state of New York. An uncontested divorce is one in which you and your spouse are in agreement and eliminates the stress and expense of settling your divorce in the New York courts .
With 3StepDivorce TM you can complete and print your New York state divorce forms (including a marital settlement agreement) instantly. Then, follow our step-by-step filing procedures to file your own divorce in New York in a timely, professional, and hassle free fashion. The online software is designed to give you full control of your divorce and also avoids the use of third party data entry, thus helping protect your personal information and privacy.
Online Divorce FAQ: New York
Filing for divorce can seem overwhelming. Like starting almost any other legal proceeding, it takes finding the right forms, filling out the forms properly, and understanding the court’s requirements for the next steps you’ll need to take.
Traditionally, most people have hired a lawyer to take care of all the legal matters in their divorce. But more and more couples are turning to a much cheaper option that’s still easier than figuring out everything on their own: filing for divorce online.
If you want to know more, read on for answers to some of the most common questions about online divorce in New York.
How Does Online Divorce Work in New York?
New York 3StepDivorce™ takes care of the divorce paperwork for you. Once you sign up for the service, you’ll answer some questions about your situation. Based on your responses to the questionnaire, New York 3StepDivorce™ will fill out the forms the state requires to start the divorce process, along with instructions for adding any further information that’s needed. You’ll be able to print out the forms yourself immediately or, if you prefer, get hard copies by mail.
Can I File for Divorce in New York?
New York has two basic requirements to file for divorce in the state: a residency requirement, and a legally recognized reason for ending your marriage.
What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in New York?
To get a divorce in New York, one of the following situations must apply:
- either spouse has lived in New York for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before filing for divorce
- the spouses were married in New York, and one of them lives in New York when the divorce is filed and has been a resident of New York continuously for at least a year immediately before filing
- the spouses lived in New York as husband and wife, and one of them lives in New York when the divorce is filed and has been a resident of New York continuously for at least a year immediately before filing; or
- the cause (“grounds”) for the divorce occurred in New York and one of the spouses has been a resident of New York continuously for at least a year before filing.
(N.Y Dom. Rel. Law § 230 (2022).)
What Are the Grounds for Divorce in New York?
New York allows both “no-fault” and “fault-based” divorces. When you file for a no-fault divorce, you don’t have to prove that your spouse was at fault for ending the marriage. New York has three no-fault grounds for divorce:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. One of the spouses must state under oath that the marriage has been irretrievably broken for at least six months.
- Separation under a decree or judgment of separation. The spouses must have lived separate and apart for at least a year after a court granted a decree of judgment of separation.
- Separation under a written separation agreement. The spouses must have lived separate and apart for at least a year after signing a written separation agreement.
A fault-based divorce is based on a claim that your marriage is ending because your spouse engaged in a type of misconduct—cruel and inhumane treatment, adultery, abandonment (for a year or more), or a crime that landed your spouse in prison for at least three years. (N.Y Dom. Rel. Law § 170 (2022).)
Fault-based divorces are almost always more expensive and lengthy, because the spouse accused of misconduct is sure to fight the allegations. And of course, a no-fault divorce based on separation means waiting at least a year before you can start the divorce proceedings. That’s why most New York couples who are getting divorced choose no-fault divorce based on irretrievable breakdown of the marriage—and why New York 3StepDivorce™ currently provides services only for couples who are getting divorced on that ground.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce in New York?
Many New York residents are finding that they can file for divorce and get through the process without the expense of hiring a lawyer if they’re filing for an “uncontested divorce” in the state. That means that they’ve agreed with each other about all of the legal issues in their divorce, including:
- how to divide their property and debts
- alimony, and
- child custody, visitation, and child support (if they have minor children).
If you still have disagreements with your spouse about these or any other issues involved in ending your marriage, you’ll have to file for a traditional, contested divorce. Because that will involve legal battles and presenting evidence and arguments at court hearings, it would be risky to pursue a contested divorce without a lawyer to navigate the process for you—especially if your spouse has an attorney.
Can I Use New York 3StepDivorce™ in My Situation?
We follow standard procedures for uncontested, DIY divorces based on the local process. Our service requires both parties to be cooperative and in full agreement. Therefore, our services use no-fault grounds (for example, "irreconcilable differences") and each party will waive certain procedural rights.
We cannot accommodate cases that involve: existing cases or support orders; domestic violence; restraining orders; contested issues; missing spouses; protected addresses; common law marriages; dissolution of registered domestic partnerships; pregnancy; temporary or retroactive support orders; lack of jurisdiction over the children under the UCCJEA; exclusive jurisdiction over the case by another court; third-party child custody or support; or children who are emancipated or otherwise not dependent on the parties. Some cases may require additional forms or filing requirements that are not provided by our service, including but not limited to cases involving: filing fee waivers; change in address; recipients of public assistance; division or transfers of retirement accounts; and multiple visitation plans.
Additionally, we cannot accommodate cases that involve: a venue established under N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 509 or N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 503(a); exclusion of the mandatory add-on requirements for parties whose income is above the New York Self-Support Reserve, but above the poverty level; or no available group health plans through employment for the benefit of the children.
What If My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on the Issues in Our Divorce?
Just because you haven’t been able to agree with your spouse about everything in your divorce, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go through an expensive and time-consuming contested divorce. You could try divorce mediation. If you’re able to resolve your disagreements with the mediator’s help, you can then use New York 3StepDivorce™ to prepare the written settlement agreement, along with the other divorce paperwork.
Can I Get an Online Divorce in New York If I Have Children?
Generally, you can use New York 3StepDivorce™ even when you have minor children with your spouse, as long as you agree on all of the issues related to your kids, including legal and physical custody, a parenting (visitation) schedule, child support, health and dental insurance, and tax deductions. New York 3StepDivorce™ will allow you to address these issues in your settlement agreement. We provide a standard parenting schedule, but you’ll have an option of customizing the schedule to meet your individual needs.
However, you won’t be able to address custody-related issues with New York 3StepDivorce™ if the affected child or children don’t meet the “home state” requirement. Usually, this means that the child lived with a parent in New York for at least six months before the divorce papers were filed. (N.Y Dom. Rel. Law § 76 (2022).) If you don’t meet the six-month rule, you should speak with an attorney to find out whether you might qualify for one of the complicated exceptions to this rule.
How Will My Online Divorce in New York Deal With Child Support?
In New York, both parents have an obligation to support their children. And like all states, New York has child support guidelines for calculating how much support the parents should pay, based largely on their incomes and custody arrangements.
3StepDivorce™ provides the New York child support guideline worksheets, so you can easily calculate the state's guideline level of support. You and your spouse may agree to an amount of child support that differs from the guideline amount, but the judge will review your agreement to determine if the amount of support is in your children’s best interests.
In your settlement agreement, you and your spouse may include child support provisions that aren’t legally required, such as a parent’s contributions to private school tuition or the cost of a child’s college education. You may also agree on some specific questions like which parent will claim the children as dependents on tax returns.
Will We Be Able to Change the Amount of Child Support After Divorce?
After your divorce in New York is final, you (or your spouse) may request a change in the amount of child support, but you’ll need to show that your circumstances have changed significantly. The judge will review your request based on the same legal requirements for an original child support order.
If you want to save the time and expense of a court battle over a request to modify child support, you and your spouse may agree to a modification on your own. As a general rule, you’ll need to submit your agreement to a judge or child support agency.
How Will Online Divorce Handle Property and Debts From Our Marriage?
When you fill out your questionnaire for New York 3StepDivorce™, you’ll answer a series of questions about your separate and marital property and debts, including how you’ll divide your marital property and allocate responsibility for payment of the marital debts.
What About the Family Home?
If you own a home with your spouse, your agreement can spell out what will happen to it when you get divorced. Here again, the questionnaire will include a few questions about the property and how you’ve chosen to deal with it, such as:
- selling the house and splitting the proceeds
- transferring ownership to one spouse, with the other spouse receiving money or other assets in exchange for that spouse’s share, or
- continuing to own the property together while allowing one spouse to stay in the house for a period of time (and, if so, how you’ll handle paying the mortgage and other ongoing costs).
What About Retirement Accounts?
In your New York 3StepDivorce™, you may also agree on whether and how you’ll divide any retirement accounts that you and your spouse have, including 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and defined-benefit pensions.
If you started contributing to the retirement plan before you were married, you’ll start by figuring out how much of its current value is marital property and how much is your separate property. There are experts and firms that will do this for you (for a fee, of course). The service is usually known as a pension appraisal or valuation. You’ll almost always need this kind of expert help when you’re dealing with a defined-benefit pension.
Once you know the marital value of your work-related retirement accounts, the easiest way to handle the division of the assets is not to split them but to transfer other assets as an offset. Here’s how that works: Say you have a 401(k) through your job, and the marital portion of the account is worth $100,000. If you and your spouse agree to divide that portion down the middle, and you have other marital assets to divide (such as a regular savings account), your spouse could receive an extra $50,000 from those assets while you keep the entire 401(k). That way, you don’t have to hire another expert to prepare the kind of special order that’s needed to tell the 401(k) administrator how to divide the account.
The rules are different for IRAs. You may simply agree to have your spouse’s share transferred to another IRA account in that spouse’s name. (You’ll have to submit a special form to the bank, along with a copy of your divorce decree.)
Can I Get Alimony With an Online Divorce in New York?
You and your spouse may waive any right to alimony in your New York divorce, or you may agree on the specifics of alimony payments: who will pay, how much, and for how long. Your agreement may also state whether a court could modify alimony at any time in the future, and it could cover related issues like health insurance and life insurance.
How Do I File My Divorce Papers in New York?
When you get your completed forms from New York 3StepDivorce™, your next step will be to file your divorce paperwork with the correct court. The New York Supreme Court located in the county where either you or your spouse lives is the court that will decide your divorce case. You will file your papers with the county clerk’s office.
If you’re located outside of New York City, you can find the contact information for the Supreme Court in your county at this link. If you’re located within New York City, you can find the contact information for your court at this link.
In most courts, you will have to file the initial divorce paperwork in person. Some courts, however, do allow you to file electronically (if you’d like more information about electronic filing, the New York State Unified Court System’s website maintains an FAQ page on electronic filing).
How Much Is New York’s Filing Fee for Divorce?
When you file your divorce, you will pay a $210 fee to get an index (case) number. Most courts charge fees in addition to the index number fee. You should expect to pay at least $370 in total fees to file your divorce. The court clerk will know the total fees charged by your court.
What If I Can’t Afford to Pay the Divorce Filing Fee?
If you can’t afford to pay the divorce filing fee, you can request “poor person status.” If the court grants your request, you won’t have to pay court fees. To request poor person status, file both of the following with the county clerk’s office when you file your initial paperwork:
- an Affidavit in Support of Application to Proceed as a Poor Person (with proof of income attached), and
- a (proposed) Poor Person Order.
Ask the court clerk if any additional forms are required, and whether you must serve these forms on your spouse.
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in New York?
There is no required waiting period after filing your divorce in New York. The court can make a final decision about your divorce as soon as its schedule allows. In most cases, the court can issue a final decision in about three months.
How Can I Get More Help With New York Online Divorce?
New York 3StepDivorce™ provides unlimited, live, person-to-person support for customers. If you have any questions about how uncontested divorce works, call our New York Divorce Online Help Center at (888) 665-6782 (toll free), Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (Pacific Time).
Please keep in mind that we are not lawyers and so cannot give out legal advice. If you have questions about New York law or need legal advice, we recommend that you contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.