How to complete a "do it yourself" divorce in New York?
New York allows you to file an uncontested divorce on your own. This means you do not have to hire a lawyer and you can use our online divorce services here at CompleteCase. However, it is important to understand what an uncontested divorce is, and how to go through the process, if you want to get through your divorce in the most efficient way possible. You can complete a do-it-yourself divorce, you just need to know how.
Steps In A Do-It-Yourself Divorce in New York State
- Verify that you qualify – To file for a divorce in the state of New York, you or your spouse must be a resident of the state for at least a year. This is a substantial amount of time and not everyone is aware of this requirement. To avoid having your petition for divorce discarded outright, make sure you meet residency requirements.
- Verify that your divorce will be uncontested – A do-it-yourself divorce in New York is only possible when you know that you and your spouse are in agreement on all matters related to the divorce. If there is a chance for any disagreement about things like property division, spousal support, child custody, child support or other issues, disagreements that will not likely be resolved before you submit your paperwork to the state, a do-it-yourself divorce may not work for you. If your spouse contests any aspect of the divorce it will lead to a hearing. In this case you are better off hiring an attorney to argue for your case. The do-it-yourself divorce approach is not the best path in a contested divorce.
- Decide your grounds for divorce – New York is specific in what it will allow as legal grounds for divorce. You will need to demonstrate to the court that your divorce petition is based on a legally acceptable reason. You will need to state this reason on your documents. There are seven acceptable reasons for divorce in New York. These are: cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment of more than a year, confinement in prison for three or more years consecutively, adultery, living apart for more than a year due to a legal separation decreed by court, living apart for more than a year due to a written separation agreement and living apart for at least six months due to the relationship breaking town irretrievably.
- Get clear about health insurance coverage – New York expects both spouses to understand the consequences to health insurance coverage that will result after the divorce. One spouse will typically lose coverage, something the state wants both to be aware of in a do-it-yourself divorce.
- Fill out your forms – You can download the necessary forms for an uncontested divorce on the New York State website or you can fill them out through CompleteCase. At CompleteCase we will do much of the work for you, ensuring that your forms are filled out correctly and minimizing the risk of mistakes in your do-it-yourself divorce.
- File the forms with your county clerk – After you have both signed the completed your forms you can submit them to the county clerk in the county which you or your spouse resides. You will need to pay for the purchase of an index number for $210 and pay another $125 to file a Note of Issue – meaning your filing will require two different stages. You also want to bring a postcard, stamped and self-addressed, so the clerk can alert you when your judgment has been signed.
- Pick up your signed divorce judgment – It can take anywhere from 60 to 90 days for the court to finalize your paperwork and contact you using the postcard you provided. Once you are notified you can return to the county clerk and pick up the copy of the divorce judgment, now officially signed by the court.
- Complete your notice of entry requirement – You are almost done with your do-it-yourself divorce. Once you have your signed divorce judgment, fill out your notice of entry form and mail it along with the signed divorce judgment to your spouse. Once you notify the court that you have completed this requirement, you are officially divorced.