How to Get a Divorce in New York State

By Lisa Magloff

All divorces in New York state are granted by the Supreme Court of New York. The exact steps involved in getting a divorce in New York depends on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, and on whether there are any minor children or property disputes involved. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on the reasons for divorce and on the division of property and amount of support. In a contested divorce, the spouses do not agree. In a contested divorce, a judge will often decide the terms of the divorce settlement. In New York, all divorces use the forms provided by the County Clerks office.

Step 1

Ensure that you meet the residency requirement to file for divorce in New York state. Either you or your spouse must have lived in New York for one year immediately before filing for divorce. You also need to have a reason for divorcing – called grounds. In New York, grounds include a separation, breakdown of the relationship, adultery, cruelty, abandonment and one spouse being sent to prison for three years or more. Be prepared to prove your grounds to a judge or jury.

Step 2

Contact the County Clerk's office in your county and ask for an uncontested divorce packet. This will contain all the forms and information you need to begin your divorce. If your divorce will be contested, you can use the forms in the uncontested packet, but you may want to contact a lawyer or legal aid office at this point. Minor children and property division are complex issues and an experienced attorney can be helpful.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Step 3

Fill out the forms in the packet. There are 14 forms in the packet, along with detailed instructions for filling out each one. Prepare three copies of the Summons with Notice form. The Summons is a legal document that begins the divorce procedure. It states the reason you are requesting a divorce and includes any requests for child support, maintenance, custody or property settlement.

Step 4

Purchase an Index Number at your local County Clerk's office. As of 2011, the fee for this was $210. The index number will be used to identify your case in the New York Supreme Court. If you cannot afford the fee, you can file a Poor Person Application in the clerk's office requesting a waiver of the index fee. When you purchase the index number, file the Summons and the Verified Complaint form from your packet with the County Clerk.

Step 5

Arrange for someone over the age of 18, who is not involved in the divorce, to deliver a copy of the Summons, the Verified Complaint, Notice of Automatic Orders and the Notice Concerning Continuation of Health Care Coverage forms to your spouse. This must be done within 120 days of your purchase of the index number. This person should also deliver a copy of the Affidavit of Defendant, which your spouse will need to sign and return to you. If you have any children under 21, you will also need to serve a copy of the Child Support Standards Chart to your spouse.

Step 6

Serve your spouse with a copy of the Sworn Statement of Removal of Barriers to Remarriage form, if you were married in a religious ceremony. If you were married in a civil ceremony, you do not need to do this. If your spouse does not return the Affidavit of Defendant to the court or returns the form and states that he does not agree to the divorce, then your divorce becomes a contested divorce. You should consult an attorney at this point.

Step 7

Place your case on the court calendar. If your divorce in uncontested, that is, if your spouse has agreed to the terms of the divorce by signing the Affidavit of Defendant form, you may request your case to be placed on the calendar immediately. If your divorce in contested, you will need to wait 120 days before requesting placement on the calendar.

Step 8

Complete the Request for Judicial Intervention form and the Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage form and, if needed, the Divorce and Child Support Summary Form. File these forms, along with a copy of the Summons, Note of Issue and the Verified Complaint, with the County Clerk's Office. You will also need to pay a filing fee unless you have been granted a waiver. The papers will then be submitted to a judge. If the papers are all in order, the judge will issue a Judgment of Divorce. If your divorce is contested, you will be given a date for a court hearing in front of a judge. The judge will then decide the terms of your divorce settlement.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Paper Work for a Divorce in the State of Indiana



Related articles

How to Contest a Divorce in the State of Michigan

If your spouse filed for divorce in the state of Michigan, you cannot contest the divorce itself as Michigan, like all other states, recognizes no-fault divorces. However, if there are issues of child custody, property division or alimony you want to contest, you can. To do so, you must act within 21 days of receiving service of the divorce petition. If you do not act within that time, your spouse might be eligible for a default judgment.

How to Get an Uncontested Divorce in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, the uncontested divorce process provides couples with the option of avoiding some of the time-consuming aspects of standard divorce. As long as the eligibility requirements are met, a couple may initiate the process together, enter into mutual agreements and often finalize their divorce within a month. To qualify in Massachusetts, you and your spouse must be on the same page regarding all the major issues related to your divorce, including property, support and child custody.

How to Get a Divorce in Virginia When a Spouse Is Contesting

Finding common ground in a divorce action is not always easy. For divorcing couples in Virginia who cannot agree, the state has several requirements for successfully completing a contested divorce. The process begins by responding to the divorce petition, known as a Bill of Complaint in Virginia, and participating in a hearing with a divorce commissioner. Afterward, the case will then proceed to trial and be decided by a judge, once all pretrial matters have been completed.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How to Represent Yourself in a Dissolution

How you represent yourself in a dissolution depends in part on your marital circumstances. If you and your spouse agree ...

How to File for Divorce in Wayne County, Michigan

Michigan is one of 14 pure no-fault divorce states. This means that the only ground for divorce is an irretrievable ...

How to Probate a Will in Arkansas

Probating a will in Arkansas allows you to settle the estate of your loved one. Probate is the legal proceeding used to ...

How to Start a Divorce Process

Divorce is governed by state law, and the exact process for starting a divorce can vary from one state to the next. ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED