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Navigating the Divorce Process in New York: Guidelines and Information

Starting the divorce process in the bustling centre of New York City can be stressful, but you’re not alone. The Law Offices Of SRIS, P.C. stand as your steadfast ally, committed to compassionately guiding you through the challenges of the procedure. Having an experienced legal friend is crucial as you navigate the complex terrain of divorce. Each case is different, and at The Law Offices of SRIS, P.C., we are committed to tailoring our strategy to match your circumstances. Our team of lawyers provides the clarity, assistance, and effective representation you need.

Overview of New York City's Divorce Laws:

The Domestic Relations Law of New York State lays the foundation for the divorce laws in New York City. Two legal grounds for divorce exist:

1. Irretrievable breakdown: This is the most common reason for divorce in New York City. It signifies that the marriage has irreparably broken down to a point where repairing it is impossible.

2. Fault-based grounds: These include adultery, desertion, and cruelty. However, fault is no longer necessary to obtain a divorce in New York City.

The New York State Domestic Relations Law also outlines procedures for splitting assets, debts, child custody and the reasons for divorce.

Property Division:

Equitable distribution guides the division of property in New York City. It implies a fair distribution of assets, though not necessarily equal. The court considers factors such as the duration of the wedding, each spouse’s contributions, and the needs of any children.


The concept of equitable distribution extends to assigning debts to different parties. However, if one spouse is better able to afford it, the court may order that spouse to pay a more significant portion of the debts.

Child Custody:

The Domestic Relations Law of New York State grants the court considerable latitude in determining child custody. When deciding on custody, the court considers various factors, including the wishes of the parents, the child’s best interests, and the stability of the child’s household.

Understanding the divorce rules in New York City can be intricate and challenging. If you’re contemplating divorcing your spouse, discussing your case with a lawyer is crucial. A lawyer from The Law Offices Of SRIS, P.C. can defend your rights and interests and help you comprehend the relevant laws.

Here are some additional considerations regarding New York City’s divorce laws, in addition to the previously mentioned details:

1. The court may mandate spousal support for one spouse. Spousal support ensures that the spouse with a lower income can live comfortably after the divorce.

2. The court may also mandate that one spouse pays child support to the other spouse. The purpose of child support is to assist parents in meeting the financial requirements of their children.

3. The duration of the divorce process might range from months to years.

4. It’s essential to anticipate divorce’s emotional and financial challenges.

Seeking lawful counsel from an experienced attorney is crucial if you’re considering divorce. A lawyer from The Law Offices Of SRIS, P.C. can guide you through the divorce process and help you understand your rights and options.

Grounds for Divorce in New York:

No-fault grounds: The most common reason for divorce in New York is the irretrievable marriage breakdown. It signifies that the marriage has irreparably broken down to a point where repairing it is impossible. One spouse can demonstrate this by submitting an affidavit indicating their belief that The marriage has irreparably shattered. And that there is no realistic chance of a reunion.

Grounds based on fault:

1. Inhumane treatment: The spouse’s actions must have been so excessive and absurd that continuing to live with them would be considered cruel. It can involve mistreatment in other forms, such as physical or mental abuse.

2. Abandonment: The spouse must have left the marital residence and no plans to return. At least a year must have passed since the abandonment.

3. Adultery: To fulfil this ground, the spouse must have engaged in sexual activity with someone other than their spouse.

4. Imprisonment: To qualify for this ground, the spouse must receive a sentence of at least three years.

5. Conversion of a separation judgment: This ground enables a spouse to convert a separation decree into a divorce order. A separation judgment legally separates the spouses without dissolving the marriage.

6. Separation agreement: If a couple has executed a separation agreement, they are eligible for divorce under this ground. The terms of their separation, including child custody, child support, and alimony, are outlined in a written agreement.

Spousal Support:

After a divorce, one partner may provide spousal support, often referred to as alimony, to the other. Its purpose is to assist the supported spouse in maintaining a lifestyle comparable to the one they experienced during the marriage.

Support for the spouse can be ongoing or intermittent. Briefly provide temporary alimony until the supported spouse can independently help themselves. Permanent alimony payments continue until either spouse dies, the sponsored spouse remarries, or an indefinite period elapses.

Several factors influence the amount of spousal support, including:

  • The duration of the marriage.
  • The ages and health statuses of the spouses.
  • The combined income of the spouses.
  • Each partner’s non-financial contributions to the marriage, including childcare and housework.
  • The needs of any children.
  • Irresponsible spending of assets by either spouse.

The court will consider all these factors when determining the amount of spousal support. It’s important to note that spousal support is calculated case-by-case, and no standard formula exists.

In the event of a significant change in circumstances, such as alterations in either spouse’s income or the supported spouse’s needs, it’s possible to modify spousal support. To adjust spousal support, you must file a motion with the court. The court will review the activity and decide whether to change the support order, considering the same factors when issuing the original order.

The stages required to initiate the divorce process in New York City are as follows:

1. Submitting a divorce application: The initial step is submitting the divorce petition to the court. This legally binding document outlines the grounds for divorce and your request for one. To file a divorce petition, you can visit the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office in the county of your residence or submit the petition online through the New York State Unified Court System website. A fee of $210 is associated with filing a divorce petition. The petition should include:

  • Name and address information.
  • Address and name of your spouse.
  • The date of your marriage.
  • The reasons for your divorce.

Notifying your spouse of the Legal Separation:

Once you’ve submitted the divorce petition, you must serve your spouse with the divorce papers. It involves providing your spouse with a copy of the petition and other court documents. Serving divorce papers can be done through various methods, including in-person delivery, mailing, or publication. The most common way is personal delivery by a third party not involved in the divorce.

If your spouse agrees, you can serve the papers via mail using certified mail with a return receipt. You can utilise the publication service when you cannot locate your spouse or refuse to accept the forms. It involves posting a divorce notice in your spouse’s county newspaper.

Responding to a divorce petition:

If your partner has filed a divorce petition against you, you can reply to it. By submitting an answer to the court, you can formally respond to the petition. The response is a formal document where you outline your claims and either admit or deny the accusations made in the divorce petition. You must submit your reply 20 days after being served with the divorce petition.

If you fail to submit an answer, the court may issue a default judgment against you. It means the court could grant the divorce to your spouse without your input.

Equitable distribution of property:

In New York City, property division follows the principle of equitable distribution. It implies that assets will be subject to fair distribution, even though not necessarily in equal shares. When dividing property, the court considers various factors, including the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s contributions, and the needs of any children.

Distinguishing Separate Property vs. Marital Property:

Before deciding how to divide the property, it’s crucial to differentiate between individual and marital property. Regardless of the title, property acquired during the marriage is generally considered marital property. Conversely, property obtained before or After the wedding, one spouse typically regards property acquired through a gift or inheritance as separate property.

When determining whether the property is marital or separate, the court considers several factors, including:
1. The time of property acquisition.
2. The source of funds used to buy the property.
3. The intentions of the parties.
4. The extent of combining separate and marital assets.

Factors considered in property division:

The length of the marriage is just one of the many factors the court considers when dividing property, along with the distinction between marital and separate property. Other considerations include:

1. The ages and health statuses of the spouses.
2. The combined income of the spouses.
3. Each partner’s non-financial contributions, such as childcare and housework.
4. The needs of any children.
5. Irresponsible spending of assets by either spouse.

Handling Complex Assets:

The court might appoint a referee or appraiser to aid in determining the value of assets, mainly when dealing with complex assets like real estate, businesses, and investments. Moreover, the court can require partners to liquidate their assets and divide the resulting revenues.

In certain situations, spouses can reach a property settlement agreement, a formal contract outlining the terms of property distribution. If the spouses agree, the court generally approves such an agreement.

If spouses cannot agree on property settlement, the matter may proceed to trial. During the trial, the court will hear testimonies from all parties involved and decide how to divide the property.
When undergoing a divorce in New York City, choosing The Law Offices Of SRIS, P.C. empowers you with resolution.

We fight to protect your rights and secure your future – we are more than just attorneys. You’re not on this journey alone; The Law Offices Of SRIS, P.C. is here to assist. Embark on the path to a better tomorrow by reaching out today. With us, your transformation begins.

FAQs: Navigating the Divorce Process in New York City:

1. Q: Can I get a divorce in New York City without my spouse’s consent?
A: Yes, you can obtain a divorce without your spouse’s consent. New York provides no-fault options where support isn’t necessary, and fault-based grounds are available if your spouse disagrees with the divorce.

2. Q: What happens if my spouse and I can’t agree on key issues during the divorce?
A: If you and your spouse cannot agree on matters like property division or child custody, the case may proceed to court. A judge will then make decisions based on the presented evidence.

3. Q: How are retirement accounts and pensions divided in a divorce in NYC?
A: Retirement accounts and pensions acquired during the marriage are considered wedding property subject to equitable distribution. Utilising legal mechanisms like Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) might be necessary for their division.

4. Q: Can I change my name back to my maiden name during the divorce process?
A: You can request a name change during the divorce proceedings. Including in your divorce decree is a standard and typically feasible step.

5. Q: Can I relocate with my child after the divorce if I have custody?
A: Relocating with a child after divorce requires court approval, mainly if it affects the existing custody arrangement. The court considers factors such as the child’s best interests and the reason for the proposed move.

6. Q: What if my spouse lives outside of New York? Can I still get a divorce here?
A: You can file for divorce in New York if you meet the residency requirements. However, dealing with jurisdictional and logistical challenges might be necessary if your spouse resides outside the state.

7. Q: What if I suspect my spouse hides assets to manipulate the property division?
A: If you suspect your spouse is concealing assets, you can initiate an investigation with the assistance of a forensic accountant or attorney. Courts take the concealment of assets seriously and may impose penalties on parties engaged in such behaviour.

8. Q: Can I waive child support if my spouse agrees?
A: Legal guidelines generally determine child support to uphold the child’s best interests. While you agree with your spouse, the court can review and modify the arrangement.

9. Q: What should I do if my ex-spouse isn’t complying with court orders after the divorce?
A: If your ex-spouse fails to comply with court orders, you can seek legal assistance in enforcing the orders through the court system. This process may involve filing a petition for enforcement and pursuing available legal remedies.

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