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.