Preparing for Divorce in New York | Steps to Take

Deciding to get divorced is the first step of a complex and emotionally painful process. However, a little preparation on your part can make it quicker and less stressful. Let’s take a look at all things that can be done to make sure you don’t face unnecessary hurdles on your way to a new life.

Know The Residency Requirements

Before filing for divorce in the state of New York, the parties are required to meet one of the following residency requirements:

  1. Either party must have been living continuously in the state of New York for at least two years before the date of filing the divorce.
  2. Either party must have been living in New York continuously for at least one year before the date of filing the divorce, provided that they got married in New York, resided in New York as a married couple, or the grounds for the divorce happened in the state.
  3. Both parties must be residents of the state of New York on the day the divorce is started, and the grounds for the divorce must have occurred in New York.

Understand The Divorce Grounds

The state of New York offers seven grounds for divorce:

1. Irretrievable Breakdown in Relationship

Under this ground, New York allows for a no-fault divorce, which means that neither party has to prove the other’s fault for getting a divorce. For this, the marriage must be over for at least 6 months. This is the perfect option for couples looking to avoid a court trial and additional costs by having an uncontested divorce. But to have an uncontested divorce, both parties must settle all financial standing issues, property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support.

2. Cruel and Inhuman Treatment

Specific acts of cruelty in the last five years will be considered to qualify for this ground. The actions must be severe enough to be deemed physically or mentally harmful to the party who will apply for divorce.

3. Abandonment

To use abandonment as a ground for divorce, one party must have abandoned the other for at least one year. The spouse may have physically left the house or stayed in the house while refusing to continue marital relations.

4. Imprisonment

For this, the spouse must have been imprisoned for 3 or more years continuously. The imprisonment must have taken place after the marriage.

5. Adultery

To use this ground, the act of adultery must have taken place while the parties were married. It’s quite difficult to proceed with this since a lot of evidence is required to prove adultery.

6. Divorce After a Legal Separation Agreement

In this case, the parties must sign a valid separation agreement and then live apart for one year.

7. Divorce After a Judgment of Separation

Sometimes, the Court draws up a judgment of separation. The married couple is then required to live apart for one year. This is relatively uncommon, and very few cases qualify for this ground.

Make Financial Decisions

While preparing for divorce, assessing one’s financial position is the most crucial step. Gather all relevant documents like bank statements, tax returns, investment and insurance papers, deeds, wills, and paperwork related to mortgage. Calculate your spending, possessions, and debt. You need to make sure that you will be able to support yourself when you start living separately.

If you own real estate together or have taken loans together, you must address the division of assets and liabilities. If you start filing for divorce without clearing these out, it can cause long delays. Your uncontested divorce might even become contested due to these problems.

If you realize that you cannot support yourself, you need to calculate how much support you will need from your spouse. In case your divorce is uncontested, you have to consider how much support your spouse will be able to offer as well. Calculating spousal support in advance will help the proceeding go smoothly.

Once you have taken a look at the essential documents and made the necessary calculations, make multiple copies of each. They are required for the divorce proceeding.

Decide On Child Custody And Child Support

Divorce gets a little complicated when children are involved. Custody battles often turn ugly and make the process extremely painful for the entire family. Couples undergoing uncontested divorce must have an honest and mature conversation with each other. They must keep the children’s needs in mind while deciding how much each party will be involved in the children’s lives. They must also decide if child support is required and how much will be convenient for both parties.

Think About Budget

For filing an uncontested divorce, the court charges two separate fees. It costs $210 to get an index number for the case, and there is a document submission fee. All total, court and filing fees add up to at least $335. Fee waivers are available if you are facing extreme financial hardship.

Legal assistance from an attorney or lawyer can help you understand your rights and fight for them properly. This is a must for contested divorces, but it can drive the cost of divorce up to $17,000.

Spending so much over a divorce may seem unnecessary when the parties have already come to an agreement regarding property division, child custody, and spousal support. For couples who have no conflict regarding these matters, DIY divorce (do it yourself divorce) or online divorce can be a much better option. Services of online divorce companies can be as inexpensive as $139 even though they make the process quick and hassle-free for you.

DIY Divorce Program Offered By the State of New York

Considering the budget concerns of couples looking for an uncontested divorce, the court has come up with an Uncontested Divorce Program. The couple must satisfy the following criteria to apply for divorce under this program:

  1. The parties must be over 18 years of age.
  2. The parties must not have children under 21 years of age.
  3. The marriage must have been over for at least 6 months, and the changes must be irreversible.
  4. The parties must have settled property and custody issues, and they must guarantee that no further conflicts can arise regarding these.

If your case satisfies these criteria, you can print out the DIY divorce forms or fill them out online as well. Then take the papers to the county clerk and file a case. You can bring a self-addressed, pre-stamped envelope so that the clerk can inform you when your judgment has been signed.

It can take anywhere between 60 to 90 days for the proceeding. After you pick up the officially signed divorce judgment, you have to sign it and fill out a notice of entry form. It must be mailed to the spouse along with the signed divorce judgment for the procedure to be complete.

Consider Online Divorce Companies

Even with the Uncontested Divorce Program, filing for divorce without an attorney can be difficult. There are several forms and supporting documents that need to be organized. The slightest mistake in filling these out can get your divorce petition rejected. For someone who has never experienced divorce before, the filing process can be fairly confusing too.

Many legal document preparers have set up businesses to help out couples with their DIY divorce. They cannot offer legal help, but they have a thorough knowledge of the legal framework, which helps them organize divorce files efficiently.

These divorce companies take your information through an easy, user-friendly form. They also extract information regarding property division, custody, and alimony and then use it to customize documents to suit your case. They transfer this information accurately to forms on your behalf. You can simply print out the divorce papers and file them yourself or let the company file it for you. This is a fast, affordable, and foolproof way to complete a DIY divorce.

Online divorce companies one of which is, offer constant customer support throughout the process so that you can take each step with complete understanding. Some of them also have tie-ups with wellness services like counseling to make this painful process slightly easier for you.

Before starting an application for divorce online, scout the top online divorce sites. Check whether the online divorce company you wish to pick has a seal for the Better Business Bureau on their website. Then you can visit the official website of the Better Business Bureau online and read the report on the company. Some companies providing the best online divorce service also offer a guaranteed refund if your papers don’t receive approval. This is the final step of divorce preparation, and you must decide wisely.

Divorce is not merely a legal procedure. No matter how amicable the separation, the process itself can be extremely stressful. It’s essential to complete the process quickly and without spending a fortune. Then you can finally leave your past behind and start your life afresh.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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