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2024 How to File for Divorce in New York? Step by Step Process

2024 How to File for Divorce in New York? Step by Step Process

Divorce is usually a foreign process for most people. It can be a complex maze of forms, deadlines, and bureaucratic requirements. A talented, experienced legal team can often be essential to helping someone navigate the finer points of the process. However, while every divorce is unique, there is a general process that they are meant to follow.

How to File for Divorce in New York?


New York has several different ways in which you might meet its residency requirement. They are:

  • -A minimum of two years residing in New York for either spouse
  • -A minimum of one year for at least one spouse if you were married in New York
  • -A minimum of one year for at least you and your spouse if you lived in New York as a couple at one time
  • -A minimum of one year if you or your spouse lived in New York and the grounds for divorce occurred in New York
  • -No minimum if both spouses lived in New York and the grounds for divorce transpired in New York

If you have questions about your particular case, a family law divorce lawyer can help look at the details of your particular case.

Grounds for Divorce

New York has both no-fault and fault options for divorce. The no-fault option cites the relationship as having been broken down for at least six months. The grounds for an at-fault divorce are:

  • -Adultery
  • -Abandonment – Must show that one spouse has abandoned the other for at least one year
  • -Separation of at least one year – Includes a signed separation agreement
  • -Judgment separation of at least one year – Parameters for the separation are written up by the court
  • -Cruel and inhumane treatment – It’s unsafe for one spouse to continue living with the other because of the physical or emotional danger due to the other
  • -Imprisonment – Spouse must be imprisoned for at least three consecutive years after the marriage began

Waiting Period

New York does not have a technical waiting period. However, it should be noted that the grounds for no-fault divorce require the relationship being broken down for six months. Additionally, some of the at-fault grounds do have time requirements associated with them.

Negotiation or Litigation

If at all possible, both parties can often save quite a bit of time, money, and stress by working with their lawyers to come to a negotiated agreement rather than going through the litigation process.

File Forms

New York has a rather significant amount of forms that must be filed for the divorce process. A lawyer can be particularly helpful in ensuring that you have all appropriate forms completed correctly. Any issues will cause an unnecessary delay in proceeding forward.

Serve Papers

Once you have filed papers with the courts, you need to get the papers to your spouse in what is known as service. A New York divorce attorney can often help you understand your options for how to handle this. There are a few things worth knowing about being served:

  • -It must occur within 120 days of your filing with the court
  • -You are not allowed to serve the papers yourself
  • -Someone else who is at least 18 and a resident of New York must serve the papers


Your spouse has 40 days to respond to the papers, or they will have defaulted. If they answer with disagreement regarding anything in the papers filed, the divorce is considered contested rather than uncontested. Depending upon the status of the divorce after the response or default, the proceedings will move forward in several different directions. This usually involves additional forms and eventual court proceedings.


Q: What Are the Residency Requirements for a Divorce in New York?

A: New York has several different ways in which someone might meet the residency requirements for divorce. As long as the grounds for divorce occurred in New York, and you and your spouse both live in New York, you can file the claim immediately. There is a minimum of one year of either you or your spouse living in New York, and grounds for divorce occurred in the state. If either one or both of you lived in the state for at least one year and were either married in New York or have lived as a couple in New York, you can file. If either you or your spouse has lived in New York for at least two years, you may file.

Q: Does the Mother Always Get Custody in NY?

A: No, the court in New York is not supposed to take the sex or gender of the parents into consideration when determining child custody. They will choose what they believe to be right for the child based on a number of different factors. This includes availability, parenting ability, and even the child’s preferences.

Q: What Are Grounds for Divorce in NY?

A: New York is both a no-fault and fault state for divorce. This means that you may cite the relationship having broken down for at least six months, which is a no-fault divorce. The possible grounds for a fault divorce are adultery, abandonment, inhumane and cruel treatment, imprisonment of a spouse for three or more years, having been separated for a year with a separation agreement, or a court-ordered separation that has lasted at least one year.

Q: Do I Need a Period of Separation Before I Get a Divorce in NY?

A: As long as you meet the residency requirements and the relationship has been broken down for at least six months, then there is no stipulation for a period of separation required for a no-fault divorce. Depending on the grounds filed for an at-fault divorce, there may need to be a separation period of at least one year.

An Experienced Divorce Lawyer Can Help

With divorce being such a complex process, it can be a challenge to navigate for those who haven’t been through it before. An experienced legal team, though, can help you know just what to expect and act on your behalf. They can negotiate an agreement with your spouse’s lawyer that aligns with your and your family’s needs. If negotiation isn’t possible, they can fight for you in court proceedings. If you need a lawyer who is going to keep you well-informed and pursue your desires, then contact us at the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, today.

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