When a couple in New York decides they want to divorce, they have two options. They can have a contested or uncontested divorce. When a couple does not agree on issues involving their separation; and require a judge or jury to decide on these issues at a trial, this is a contested divorce. Should the couple agree on all issues involving the dissolution of their marriage, there will be no need for a judge or jury trial to decide them. This is called an uncontested divorce.
New York divorce laws were changed in 2010 to permit a no-fault option for divorce. This requires there be an irretrievable breakdown of a marriage for at least half a year before a couple can file for an uncontested divorce. It is a legal statement by the couple that they do not want to be married anymore, and both believe they won’t ever become a married couple again.
Failure to Appear
One way for a couple in New York to be awarded an uncontested divorce is if one spouse properly files and serves the divorce paperwork to the other spouse. The other spouse receives the paperwork and fails to properly respond. The other spouse will have 40 days from the day they received the paperwork to submit a response. When this doesn’t happen, the spouse filing the paperwork can ask a court to affirm their divorce request. This is done often as a judge will assume the absent spouse agrees with the terms set forth in the paperwork received by the court.
A couple in New York will be able to file for an uncontested divorce if they can come to an agreement on certain issues. They must agree to the divorce, the payment of spousal support as well as amounts and who will be responsible. The grounds for divorce as well as the amount of child support if children are involved. A couple needs to decide parenting time for each parent as well as the custody arraignment for each spouse. They also need to determine how marital assets, as well as debts, will be divided.
When a couple living in New York wants to file for any type of divorce, they will need to meet certain legal residency requirements. One of the spouses must have been residing in New York for a minimum of two continuous years. This requirement must be met before filing for the divorce. Both spouses must have resided in New York for a minimum of twelve continuous months prior to filing for a divorce. The couple must have gotten married in New York, or the grounds for divorce occurred while they were residing in New York, and they lived in New York as a married couple.
When couples want an uncontested divorce in New York, the first step is to prepare a Verified Complaint or Summons with Notice. Two copies of this must be taken to the County Clerk’s office, and the couple will purchase an index number. Then a spouse will have to sign the Affidavit of Defendant. This must be completed and given back to the spouse who filed the paperwork. When this completed form is submitted, the couple’s divorce case will be placed on a court’s calendar. This will require completing additional forms. If children are involved, an addendum form will need to be completed. A Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage must be completed as well as a Child Support Summary Form; if necessary. Once all of these documents are completed, they can then be taken to the County Clerk’s Office where a filing fee must be paid. When there are no disputes over issues, it’s possible for a couple to file for an uncontested divorce without lawyers. Once the divorce is granted, there are forms that must be completed to obtain a final divorce decree from a New York court judge.
There are many benefits couples experience when getting an uncontested divorce. Because the couple has agreed on all the major issues, there will be no need to let a judge or jury determine what will happen. With not going to court, a couple can maintain their privacy and not have things they want to keep private on record. The process is much quicker and easier than a contested divorce.
When a couple wants to get an uncontested divorce, there is no requirement for them to talk it over with an attorney, but they may benefit from doing this. An experienced legal professional can tell a couple what to expect during the process and review all the paperwork they intend to provide the court. It is a good way to avoid experiencing mistakes that could be time-consuming as well as expensive.