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New York State Divorce Rules

Divorce Law in New York: 

Divorce law in New York governs the process by which a marriage can be legally dissolved or terminated. It is primarily based on state statutes and case law, and it can be complex and vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case. In New York, divorce law encompasses the following key aspects:

  • Grounds for Divorce: New York is unique in that it offers both “fault-based” and “no-fault” grounds for divorce.
  • No-Fault Grounds: The most common ground for divorce in New York is the “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage,” often called “no-fault divorce.” This means that the marriage has been irreparably damaged for at least six months, and there is no likelihood of reconciliation.
  • Fault-Based Grounds: If one spouse wants to pursue a fault-based divorce, they can cite specific reasons, such as adultery, abandonment, cruel and inhuman treatment, or imprisonment of one spouse for at least three consecutive years.
  • Residency Requirements: To file for divorce in New York, either spouse must meet the state’s residency requirements. Generally, either the couple or at least one spouse must have lived in New York for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before filing for divorce.
  • Division of Property: New York follows the “equitable distribution” principle when dividing marital property during divorce. Equitable does not necessarily mean equal; the court will divide property in a manner it deems fair and just, taking various factors into account, such as the length of the marriage, the contributions of each spouse, and the economic circumstances of both parties.
  • Spousal Support (Alimony): During divorce proceedings, the court may order one spouse to provide financial support to the other, either temporarily or permanently, based on factors like the length of the marriage, income disparity, and the recipient’s financial needs.
  • Child Custody and Support: In cases involving children, the court will determine child custody and visitation arrangements based on the child’s best interests. Child support will also be calculated following state guidelines, considering the parents’ incomes and other relevant factors.
  • Child Support Enforcement: The court has mechanisms in place to ensure that child support orders are followed. Failure to comply with child support obligations can lead to penalties and enforcement actions.

Divorce Lawyer in New York:

A divorce lawyer, also known as a family law attorney or matrimonial attorney, is a legal professional who efficiently handles divorce and related family law matters. In New York, a divorce lawyer provides essential services to individuals seeking to dissolve their marriages. Here are some key aspects of a divorce lawyer’s role:

Legal Advice: A divorce lawyer will offer legal counsel and guidance to clients, explaining their rights, responsibilities, and the legal process of divorce in New York. They will help clients understand the potential outcomes and implications of their decisions.

Representation in Court: A divorce lawyer will represent their client’s interests in court if the divorce becomes contested or complex. They will present arguments, evidence, and legal strategies to advocate for their client’s desired outcome.

Document Preparation: A divorce involves a significant amount of paperwork, including petitions, motions, financial disclosures, and agreements. A divorce lawyer will prepare and file these documents accurately and promptly.

Negotiation and Settlement: Many divorce cases are resolved through negotiation and settlement rather than litigation. A divorce lawyer will negotiate with the other party’s attorney to reach fair and agreeable settlements on property division, alimony, and child custody issues.

Child Custody and Support Advocacy: If children are involved, a divorce lawyer will fight for their client’s parental rights and work to achieve favorable child custody and support arrangements.

Objective Advice: Emotions can run high during divorce proceedings, and a divorce lawyer can provide accurate advice and a level-headed perspective to help clients make informed decisions.

Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution: Sometimes, a divorce lawyer may facilitate mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods to help parties reach a mutually satisfactory resolution outside court.

Protecting Rights: A divorce lawyer’s primary goal is to protect their client’s rights and interests throughout the divorce process. 

When choosing a divorce lawyer in New York, finding an experienced and reputable attorney who’s efficient in family law is essential. Consult “The Law Offices of SRIS.P.C.,” for an initial consultation.


Q1: What are the grounds for divorce in New York?

A1: In New York, you can file for divorce based on both no-fault and fault grounds. No-fault divorce is the most common and is granted when the marriage has been irretrievably broken for at least six months. Fault-based grounds include:

  • Adultery.
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment.
  • Abandonment for at least one year.
  • Imprisonment for three or more consecutive years.
  • Living apart for at least one year under a separation judgment.

Q2: How long does it take to get a divorce in New York?

A2: The time it takes to get a divorce in New York can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the case, the court’s caseload, and the parties’ cooperation. Uncontested divorces, where both parties agree on all issues, may be finalized in a few months. Contested divorces, which involve disagreements on various matters, can take significantly longer, often several months to a year or more. 

Q3: Do I need to hire a divorce lawyer in New York?

A3: While having a lawyer in a divorce is not mandatory, it is highly recommended, especially in more complex cases or contested divorces. A divorce lawyer can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, ensure all necessary documents are filed correctly, and represent your best interests in negotiations or court proceedings.

Q4: How is property divided in a New York divorce?

A4: New York follows the principle of equitable distribution, which means that marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Marital property includes assets and debts acquired during the marriage. The court considers various factors, such as the length of the marriage, each party’s contributions, and the financial needs of each spouse, to determine a fair distribution of property.

Q5: Can I get alimony (spousal support) in New York?

A5: New York allows for spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance. The court may award temporary or permanent maintenance based on factors like the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of each spouse, and the standard of living during the marriage.

Q6: What happens to child custody and support during a New York divorce?

A6: Child custody and support are essential considerations in New York divorces. The court aims to determine custody arrangements that are in the child’s best interests. Custody can be joint or sole, and decisions about visitation rights are made accordingly. Child support is calculated based on a statutory formula, considering both parents’ incomes and certain expenses related to the child’s care.

Q7: Can I modify child custody or support orders after the divorce is finalized?

A7: Child custody and support orders can be modified if there has been a substantial change in circumstances warranting the modification.

For example, if a parent’s financial situation changes significantly or there are concerns about the child’s safety, the court may review and modify the existing orders.

Q8: What is a prenuptial agreement, and are they enforceable in New York?

A8: A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by a couple before marriage that outlines how their assets and debts will be divided in the event of divorce. Prenuptial agreements are generally enforceable in New York, but they must meet specific legal requirements and be entered into voluntarily and with full disclosure of assets and liabilities.

Q9: Can I get a divorce without going to court in New York? 

A9: Yes, you can obtain an uncontested divorce without going to court in New York. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on all the divorce terms, including division of property, custody, and support. Your lawyer can help prepare the necessary paperwork, and the divorce can be finalized by submitting the documents to the court. 

Q10: What is the role of mediation in New York divorces?

A10: Mediation is a voluntary process where a neutral third party, the mediator, helps the couple reach agreements on divorce-related issues. It can be a cost-effective and less adversarial alternative to traditional litigation. Mediation is unsuitable for all cases, especially those with a history of abuse or high-conflict disputes, but it can benefit couples seeking an amicable resolution.


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