NEW YORK: 10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT GETTING A DIVORCE IN NEW YORK STATE

A  NEW YORK DIVORCE ATTORNEY DISHES ON 10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT GETTING A DIVORCE IN NEW YORK STATE
* 1. New York is the only “fault” state in the Union. Even though people are trying hard to change the law, right now you still need grounds to get a divorce here. There is no such thing as “irreconcilable differences.”  *
* 2. Same sex marriages are illegal but same sex divorces are not; meaning, if you got married in a state that allows same sex marriage, you can get a divorce in new york.
3. New York is an equitable distribution state meaning that when it comes to marital assets and marital property, you will get what is “fair” and some of that is formulaic. Fair does not mean half.
4. With regard to custody it comes down to what is in the “best interest of the child.” Usually joint custody will NOT be awarded.
5. You have to commence the action in the county in which you live as a general rule. But you can bring it in any county if the defendant does not object, pursuant to CPLR 509. Otherwise, forum shoppingis frowned upon.
6.  The average uncontested divorce that involves no assets or children could take up to six months from start to finish.
7. You must be a resident of New York for a minimum of one year to get a divorce here. But if the grounds occurred in New York and both parties are residents you can get the divorce here even if you have not been a resident for at least a year.
8. The average contested divorce can take more than one year from start to finish. But it is possible to “bifurcate” your divorce so that you get the judgment and reserve things like alimony, child custody and equitable distribution in a separate trial.
9. As a general rule, equitable distribution and fault are mutually unrelated except in those circumstances where behavior of the party at fault “shocks the conscience” of the court.
10. Court fees just to start the action (summons and complaint) is $210. Attorney’s fees are additional (but you can represent yourself and save money if you think you can handle it.)
By New York Divorce Attorney
*New York no longer requires a showing of grounds in order for parties to obtain a divorce. You can get a divorce on the basis of irreconcilable differences.
* Same sex couples can obtain legal divorces in New York.
Originally published March 10, 2010