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Unique Aspects to Divorce in NY State

Each state has its own unique laws pertaining to divorce, so finding a law practice experienced in your state’s framework is crucial to best addressing your needs. At The Law Offices of Karl Brodzansky, we have been specializing in New York Divorce, Family Law, Wills, Trusts & Estates for over 30 years.

We know divorce is a difficult time where support means everything, and we can help you navigate the legal aspects while also showing you the compassion and dedication your case deserves.

Here are some key things to know about divorce in NY State:

1. Grounds for Divorce: In New York State, a couple can get divorced based on "fault" or "no-fault" grounds.

In New York, there are seven reasons where you can legally ask for a divorce:

  • No Fault Divorce: When the marriage relationship has been irretrievably broken for at least 6 months;

  • Abuse: It is unsafe for a spouse to continue living with their partner because of physical or mental abuse;

  • Abandonment: Spouse abandonment for at least 1 year. The plaintiff has to prove that their significant other has left them for at least 12 months;

  • Adultery: Spouse committed adultery during the marriage;

  • Imprisonment: Spouse was imprisoned for 3+ consecutive years during the marriage;

  • Separation: Spouses must live separate and apart for 1 year after executing a separation agreement; and,

  • Separation by Court: Court rules a separation where the spouses must live apart for at least 1 year.

2. Equitable Distribution: In New York, property division in divorce follows the principle of equitable distribution. This means that marital property is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. There are many factors the court considers in arriving at equitable distribution. Marital property includes all assets and debts acquired during the marriage, except for gifts or inheritances received by one spouse.

3. Spousal Support: Spousal support (also known as alimony) is not automatic in New York State. Their now exists Maintenance guidelines, to assist the court in determining if maintenance will be awarded and the duration. The court will consider a variety of factors when deciding whether to award spousal support, including the income and earning capacity of each spouse, the duration of the marriage, and the standard of living established during the marriage.

4. Residency Requirement: In order to file for divorce in New York State, at least one spouse must have lived in the state continuously for at least two years. Alternatively, if both spouses agree to the divorce and have lived in the state continuously for at least one year, they can file for divorce in New York.

5. Mediation: New York State courts encourage divorcing couples to use mediation to resolve issues related to their divorce. Mediation may be a more cost-effective and amicable way to reach a settlement, rather than going through a lengthy court process. However, mediation is not always the best alternative, and a careful analysis should be done to see if mediation is the best means forward.

There are also several steps that many states share as prerequisites, but they are worth mentioning here since all New Yorkers filing for divorce will need to meet these:

1. Proof of NY Residency: When you’re filing for divorce in NY, you must show that either you or your spouse have resided in the state of New York for at least one year before filing.

2. Uncontested Divorce: A divorce is considered uncontested if:

  • You and your spouse agree to all the terms of divorce, or

  • A spouse fails to respond to your request.

3. Information needed for Uncontested Divorce: Filling out uncontested divorce forms requires this information:

  • Name and address,

  • Date, place of marriage, and whether married in a religious ceremony,

  • Any formal written agreements that you and your spouse have reached,

  • List of properties that you and your spouse own together or separately,

  • List of debts that you have incurred with your spouse,

  • Copy of any Orders of Protection – if necessary

If your divorce happens to be contested because your spouse is failing to cooperate with anything in your divorce papers, the court will have to get involved in order to make decisions on any disagreements.

4. Steps for Completing the Uncontested Divorce:

  1. Fill Out & File Forms.

  2. Serve Pleading Papers to Spouse and file proof of service.

  3. File Affidavit Response from Spouse, if any, consenting to the divorce.

  4. File Papers with Court for a Judgment of Divorce, or, if issues require hearing, schedule an inquest in Court.

A Contested Divorce ends up being more complicated, and while there are patterns and steps that we could list, these end up being more nuanced and differ greatly depending on unique factors to your situation.

If you’re in need of a caring and reputable divorce lawyer experienced in New York divorce law, whether needing assistance with a Contested or Uncontested Divorce, The Law Offices of Karl Brodzansky is the firm that you should contact today. The Law Offices of Karl Brodzansky, based on their many years of legal experience and of achieving very good results for their clients, will provide you with advice and recommendations for you to make the best decisions in proceeding for your divorce.


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