Frequently Asked Questions

Divorce Eligility and Grounds
Process and Procedures
Express Divorce
Division of Property
Child Support
Spousal Support and Maintenance
  • What is an "Uncontested Divorce"?

    An "uncontested divorce," as opposed to a "contested divorce," is where (a) you and your spouse agree on all divorce-related issues (i.e., child custody and support, division of marital property and spousal support); and (b) your spouse cooperates with the execution of the divorce documents or is served with the "Summons and Complaint" and fails to appear in the proceedings or otherwise challenge the divorce. If your spouse will cooperate, an uncontested divorce is the quickest, friendliest, and most affordable way to dissolve your marriage without any required court appearances.

  • Is an uncontested divorce right for us?

    An Uncontested Divorce is always the best option when you and your spouse are able to work through your differences and reach an agreement regarding key issues related your assets, children, and support. Aside from avoiding a very costly legal battle, by pursuing an amicable uncontested divorce you will have saved yourself a great deal of stress and, if you have children, you and your spouse will have paved the way for a healthy working relationship.

  • Do I qualify for an uncontested divorce?

    If you and your spouse are in agreement regarding the terms of your divorce, including child custody and support (if applicable), division of marital property or spousal support or if your spouse will not seek to contest the divorce once served, then your divorce will remain uncontested.

  • What are the New York State "Residency Requirements"?

    To file for a divorce in New York, you must satisfy one of the following residency requirements:

    You or your spouse must have been living in New York State for a continuous period of at least two years immediately prior to the date you start your divorce action; OR

    You or your spouse must have been living in New York State on the date you start your divorce action and for a continuous period of at least one year immediately prior to the date you start the divorce action, and at least one of the following must also be true:

    • Your marriage ceremony was performed in New York State; OR
    • You lived in New York State with your spouse as married persons; OR
    • You or your spouse must have been living in New York State for a continuous period of at least one year immediately prior to the date you start your divorce action and your grounds for divorce must have happened in New York State ("Grounds" means a legal reason for the divorce); OR
    • You and your spouse must be residents of New York State (no matter how long) on the date you start your divorce action, and your grounds for divorce must have happened in New York State ("Grounds" means a legal reason for the divorce).
  • What are the "Grounds" for divorce in New York State?

    In order to file for a divorce in New York State you must have a ground (a legally acceptable reason) for the granting of a divorce by the New York courts. The seven legally acceptable reasons, or grounds for divorce are:

    • irretrievable breakdown in the relationship for a period at least six months (commonly known as "no-fault divorce");
    • cruel and inhuman treatment;
    • abandonment;
    • imprisonment;
    • adultery;
    • living separate and apart pursuant to a separation judgment or decree;
    • living separate and apart pursuant to a separation agreement.
  • I live out of state, but my spouse resides in New York, am I eligible for a New York Divorce?

    If you are not a New York resident but your spouse resides in New York and meets the "Residency Requirements," you may file an action for divorce in New York State.

  • Neither I nor my spouse lives in the state of New York, am I eligible for a New York divorce?

    If neither you nor your wife maintains a residence in New York, you will not be able to file a divorce in New York. This rule does not apply to military personnel or parties who have temporarily relocated.

  • What is the "No-Fault" Ground?

    The "No-Fault" ground for divorce is the most recent ground permitted under New York Law. To get a divorce using this ground, your relationship with your spouse must have broken down irretrievably (so that it is impossible to repair or reconcile) for a period of at least six months. In order to use you this ground, you and your spouse must resolve all the economic issues of distribution of marital property, spousal support, child support, and the custody and visitation with the minor children of the marriage.

  • Which "Ground" should I choose?

    The simplest of the grounds and the least contentious ground is the "No-Fault" Ground. We recommend that you select the No-Fault ground, (i.e., irretrievable breakdown in relationship).

  • We are a same-sex couple, are we eligible for a divorce in New York State?

    Certainly. As long as you were married in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriages, and provided you meet the New York State "Residency Requirements," you are eligible to get divorced in New York.

  • I am in the military and stationed outside of New York, am I eligible for a New York divorce?

    Yes. Provided that your "Home of Record" is within New York State, even if you are stationed elsewhere, you may still file a New York Divorce.

  • My spouse is in the military, how will this affect my divorce?

    This depends. As long as your spouse is willing to cooperate with the divorce proceeding, his or her military status will not affect your divorce. If, however, your spouse is unwilling to cooperate (by signing the settlement agreement or divorce affidavits), we may run into an issue attempting to serve him or her. Active-duty service members in most cases are protected from divorce proceedings. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), U.S. service men and women cannot be sued or begin divorce proceedings while on active duty. If your spouse is an active-duty service member, please be sure to bring this issue to your attorney's attention during your consultation.

  • Do I need a copy of my marriage certificate?

    No. You do not need to provide us with a copy of your marriage certificate, but we will need some information that is contained in the marriage certificate such as:

    • The legal names of the parties as they appear on the certificate
    • The date of the marriage
    • The type of marriage ceremony (civil/religious)
    • The location of the Marriage (City/State/Country)
  • My spouse is reluctant to sign the divorce agreement/documents, what can I do?

    In the event that your spouse refuses to cooperate with the divorce process or is unwilling to sign the proposed settlement agreement or divorce affidavits, we will need to have him or her served by a process server. This, in effect, will give the defendant (your spouse) notice of the proceeding and action for divorce. Once properly served, if the defendant (or their attorney) does not respond by filing a "Notice of Appearance" or an "Answer" with the Court, we may request that the Court enter a default Judgment of Divorce against the defendant.

  • What if my divorce becomes "contested"?

    Our flat-fee legal services are limited to "uncontested" divorce. In the event that your spouse contests the divorce by filing a Notice of Appearance or Answer with the Court, your case will be transferred to our litigation branch where you will have the option of continuing with our "of-counsel" legal representation (a new retainer will be required at that time) or you may always opt to proceed as a pro se litigant (self-represented). In any event, our staff and attorneys will be available to discuss these options and assist you with the transition.

  • My spouse is not willing to agree to the terms of the divorce or custody/support of the children?

    If your spouse is simply not willing to cooperate or you are in disagreement regarding the substantive issues of the marriage as they concern your children or property/assets, you may need to seek the representation of a litigation attorney. These issues must be agreed upon in a written stipulation or decided by a Judge before a divorce will be granted. Please contact us directly should you require assistance in locating a litigation divorce attorney in your area.

  • I do not know where my spouse is, can I still file an uncontested divorce?

    Yes. However, before we can proceed with a divorce, we will need to have your spouse served. In cases where your spouse has abandoned you and his or her whereabouts are unknown, the Court will require that we take steps to locate him or her. We must document our efforts to locate your spouse in a process called "due diligence." This will require retaining the services of a private investigator (additional fees apply). In the event that our efforts to locate your spouse are unsuccessful (and we are not able to obtain a valid address at which he or she may be served), we will need to file a formal motion (application) with the Court requesting alternate service on a family member or via publication/legal notice (posting the Summons with Notice in a court approved newspaper). Once all these procedural requirements have been satisfied, we will be in a position to request that the court enter a default judgment of divorce against the defendant. In such cases, the procedures and additional investigative service will delay the divorce process significantly. For a comprehensive breakdown of the fees and expected timeframe required in such cases, please be sure to inquire directly with our legal team.

  • What is the difference between a Divorce and an Annulment?

    There are two ways to legally end a marriage - annulment and divorce. An annulment is a legal procedure that cancels a marriage between a man and a woman. Annulling a marriage is as though it is completely erased - legally, a judgment of annulment declares that the marriage technically never existed and was never valid. In order to obtain an annulment, the Plaintiff (the party initiating the divorce) will need to satisfy very specific grounds such as fraud or duress. In most cases, the Plaintiff will also need to establish the basis for a request for an annulment by providing the corroborating statement of a third-party. A divorce or legal dissolution of a marriage is the termination of a valid marriage between a man and a woman returning both parties to single status with the ability to remarry. There are seven available grounds for divorce in New York, the most common and simplest of which is the "irretrievable breakdown in relationship" ground, also known as the "No-Fault" ground for divorce.

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