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How Long Does a Divorce Take in New York

By Spodek Law Group | July 17, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 15, 2023)

Last Updated on: 15th October 2023, 09:18 am

How Long Does a Divorce Take in New York?

Getting divorced in New York can be a long and complicated process. The length of a divorce case depends on a lot of factors – whether it’s contested or uncontested, if you have kids, how much property you have to divide up, etc. I went through a divorce myself a few years ago, so I know how stressful it can be when you just want it to be over already! Here’s what I learned about how the timeline works:

The Short Answer

The short answer is – it depends! An uncontested no-fault divorce with no kids could take 3-6 months. A contested divorce with custody disputes over multiple kids and arguments about dividing up property could take 1-2 years.

The Long Answer

Ok, let’s go through this step-by-step. First off, there’s no “waiting period” or anything like that in New York. You can file for divorce right away as long as you meet the residency requirements (one spouse must have lived in NY for at least 1 year).The fastest divorces are ones where both spouses agree on everything – the grounds for divorce, division of assets, custody if you have kids, etc. Let’s call these “uncontested” divorces.

Uncontested Divorce Timeline

In an uncontested no-fault divorce with no kids, you’re looking at around 3-6 months from filing to final judgment. Here’s a rough timeline:

  • Month 1: File paperwork, serve spouse
  • Months 2-3: Spouse files response, you exchange financial docs
  • Months 3-4: Negotiate settlement, file paperwork
  • Months 4-6: Court approves, judge signs off

Of course, it could take longer if the courts are backed up or you have delays getting paperwork in. But if everything goes smoothly, 3-6 months is typical for an easy no-fault divorce.If you have kids, it will take longer – more like 6-9 months. You have to work out custody arrangements and submit a parenting plan along with your other divorce paperwork.If you own property together, that can also add time for appraisals, negotiations on who gets what, real estate transfers, etc.But the key is that in an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse agree on how to handle all of these issues without fighting about them. You both want the divorce and are willing to compromise to get it done.

Contested Divorce Timeline

Now let’s talk about contested divorces, where you and your spouse don’t agree on the terms. This is what drags out the timeline.Contested divorces in New York take around 12-18 months on average. Some can go on for years if you really fight over everything. Here’s why:

  • You might disagree over grounds for divorce – fault vs no-fault
  • Custody battles over the kids – who gets what time, decision-making, etc.
  • Fighting over division of property – who gets the house, pension, etc.
  • Debating over spousal support (alimony) amounts and duration

You’ll have to gather evidence, file motions, potentially have trials over these issues. The judge ultimately makes the final call on any disputes.To resolve these kinds of contested issues, you might have to:

  • Attend mediation sessions
  • Undergo financial discovery (exchanging docs)
  • Have your assets appraised
  • Argue in court hearings
  • Have witnesses testify on your behalf
  • Wait for the judge’s decision

As you can imagine, all this back-and-forth takes time. So in a nutshell:

  • Uncontested divorce: 3-9 months
  • Contested divorce: 1-2+ years

No two divorces are exactly alike, but this gives you a general idea of the time frames.

Factors That Affect the Timeline

Beyond whether your divorce is contested or uncontested, there are some other factors that can impact the timeline:

If You Have Kids

  • Custody disputes add time
  • Court needs to approve parenting plans
  • Child support has to be calculated

If You Own Property

  • Dividing up real estate takes time
  • Financial assets need appraising
  • Negotiations over who gets what drag out

If One Spouse Is a Stay-at-Home Parent

  • Need time to calculate alimony/spousal support
  • Stay-at-home parent may need time to re-enter workforce

How Backed Up the Court Is

  • Some counties have huge backlogs
  • Can’t get hearings/trial dates for months
  • Judge’s schedule affects timeline too

How Angry You Are at Each Other

  • Anger and resentment drag things out
  • Lack of cooperation slows the process
  • Mediation can help in these cases

Tips to Speed Up Your Divorce

If your divorce is taking forever, here are some tips to move it along:

  • Compromise – Even if you’re mad, try to compromise in order to settle
  • Respond quickly – Reply right away to requests from lawyers or court
  • Be transparent – Share all relevant financial/custody information upfront
  • Use a mediator – Mediation can help resolve disputes more quickly
  • Avoid court – Try to settle out of court whenever possible
  • Stay calm – Don’t let your emotions derail negotiations

No one wants to get divorced. But once you’ve made the decision, it’s usually best to get it over with as quickly and amicably as possible. The faster you can reach agreements and avoid court battles, the sooner you can move on with your life!I hope this gives you a better idea of what to expect with the divorce timeline in New York. Let me know if you have any other questions!



 How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in New York?


 How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in New York?


 Divorce in New York: How Long Does It Take?


 New York Divorce Laws – FAQs


 How to Get a Fast Divorce in New York

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