Making the decision to file for divorce from your spouse is never easy, but having a better understanding of how the divorce process works in New York can help you make a better informed decision about the situation. There are many requirements and procedures involved in the divorce process, which is why it is always recommended that you have a highly qualified and experienced New York divorce attorney representing your best interests throughout the process. At the Law Offices of Steven Gildin in Queens, our team of legal professionals has helped many clients through the New York divorce process and is here to help explain what to expect if you decide to file for divorce.
New York Divorce Requirements
New York has two requirements that a person must meet before they are allowed to file for divorce. The first is a residency requirement, which states that you or your spouse has lived as a resident of New York for at least one year prior to filing for divorce. The second requirement is stating a valid grounds for the divorce proceeding. Legally acceptable reasons for filing for divorce in New York include the following:
-Cruel and inhumane treatment
-Imprisonment (your spouse has been in prison for three or more consecutive years)
-Living separately pursuant to a separation agreement
-Living separately pursuant to a separation judgment or decree
-Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
Once you have met the requirements for filing for divorce in New York, you can move forward with the petition for dissolution of your marriage. The paperwork must be filed with the court, and notice must be sent to your spouse informing them of the divorce petition. If there are no substantive issues to settle, you can file for an uncontested divorce; however, if there is even one issue to negotiate, you must file for a contested divorce.
Contested and Uncontested Divorce
A couple can file for an uncontested divorce in limited circumstances. In order to qualify for an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must agree on every single issue regarding finances, parenting, the distribution of assets, child custody and visitation, support, and more. All other divorce cases are considered contested divorces.
A contested divorce occurs when one spouse does not want to get a divorce, disagrees with the grounds, or disagrees on any substantive issue within the divorce negotiation such as alimony, child support, asset division, child custody, and visitation. There are a couple of ways to deal with a contested divorce. The first is through the traditional method of litigated divorce in court. Your attorney will argue with the other attorney over all contested issues, and the judge in the case will render a decision. Oftentimes, the judge will order that the couple try to resolve their issues outside of court before taking contested issues to trial. Another option is to try divorce mediation to resolve contested issues in your divorce. This is a method growing in popularity because it can be done on your own time, typically costs less, and encourages amicable communication between spouses to resolve their issues.
Litigating a Contested Divorce
If you choose to litigate your contested divorce in New York, the process begins with discovery. This is where you will request all financial and personal documentation from your spouse to gain a full understanding of all marital assets, liabilities, and separate property. Requests for production, depositions, and interrogatories may be requested of you and your spouse during this time. Once discovery is complete, your attorney will begin negotiations with your spouse’s attorney over the contested issues in your divorce. If a solution is not found on a particular issue, it may require going to trial.
After all of the contested issues are resolved, either through negotiation or litigation, your attorney and your spouse’s attorney will draft a finalized divorce agreement. This document summarizes the resolution of all issues pertaining to your divorce, including the division of assets, parenting plans, and all other relevant documentation. Once the judge reviews and approves the finalized agreement, your divorce is complete. Depending on the complexity of your case and the level of animosity between spouses, this process can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years to complete.
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With help from a qualified attorney, you can successfully navigate the divorce process in New York. To learn more about filing for divorce in Queens, contact us for more information.