New York does not have a reputation for speedy divorces. If your spouse contests your divorce, the process can easily drag on for more than a year. However, if he does not contest it, you might be divorced in a matter of months, especially if you work together to finalize your marriage. New York’s divorce laws are somewhat complex, but if you understand their nuances, you can hasten the process.
Determine what grounds you’re going to use to file for divorce. In New York, this is a pivotal question. If you use the state’s no-fault ground, you must enter into a signed settlement agreement and wait a year from the date you sign it before you can file. If your spouse agrees not to contest a fault ground, however, you can still enter into a signed agreement and avoid the one-year rule.
Negotiate a settlement with your spouse, then write the details in a formal agreement. Although New York makes many divorce forms available on its Unified Court System website, a marital settlement agreement is not one of them. The agreement must include certain language, so consider having an attorney draft it for you.
Download a verified complaint for divorce from the New York State Unified Court System website. New York has two forms, one for use if you have children and one if you do not. Complete the appropriate form.
Take your completed complaint and your settlement agreement to the Supreme Court in the county where either you or your spouse reside. File them with the court simultaneously. Depending on your county, additional forms might be required. You can ask the court clerk for them and complete them on the spot, filing them as well.
Download Form UD-7, an Affidavit of Defendant, from the New York State Unified Court System website. Ask your spouse to sign it. This form indicates that he will not be contesting the divorce because he is in agreement with the terms outlined in your agreement. After he’s signed it, file the Affidavit of Defendant with the court as well.
Wait for a judge to sign off on your paperwork. Although you don’t have to appear in court to finalize your divorce, the wait for a judge to review your documents and sign your agreement into a divorce decree might take a month or more. It will depend on the judge’s current workload.
Download Form UD-4 from the state’s website, a Sworn Statement for Removal of Barriers to Remarriage. If you were married in a religious ceremony, you must have an adult over the age of 18 mail it to your spouse.
Tips & Warnings
- If both you and your spouse were living in New York at the time you decided to end your marriage, and if both of you continue to live in the state, you don’t have to establish residency before you can file for divorce. Under all other circumstances, however, you would have to reside in the state for at least a year before you can file.
References & Resources
- South Brooklyn Legal Services: What You Should Know About Getting a Divorce in New York
- Law Office of David Centeno: How Fast Can I Get Divorced? I Need a Divorce Now and Can’t Wait!
- DivorceRoom: How to Get a Quick Divorce in New York?
- Divorcenet.com: New York Divorce FAQs
- WomensLaw.org: Know the Laws – New York Divorce
- Jean M. Mahserjian, Esq.: New York Uncontested Divorce
- Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images