If you are looking to get a divorce, you probably want to do so in the least expensive way possible. New York allows you to file for divorce without an attorney – and therefore save money – if you are seeking an uncontested divorce. This is important to remember, because if you and your spouse are in disagreement about something in the divorce you will probably need the help of a divorce lawyer to file for divorce.
Steps To File For Divorce In New York
- Verify that you are eligible – New York is more strict than many states when it comes to residency requirements for divorce. The state requires you or your spouse to live there for a year before you can file for divorce. Attempting to file before meeting this requirement is a sure way to have your petition dismissed.
- Make certain your divorce will be uncontested – There are plenty of situations where married couples do not see eye-to-eye on things. Unfortunately, the inability to come to an agreement can prove expensive when it comes to divorce. If you and your spouse are going to disagree in divorce court, you should consider hiring a divorce lawyer now to begin preparing your case. If, on the other hand, you and your spouse are in full agreement on the terms of your divorce, including how property will be divided, who will have custody of the children and everything else concerning the divorce, you can seek an uncontested divorce. In this case you can file on your own.
- Determine your reason for filing – New York requires that you list one of seven reasons for ending your marriage. Legal grounds to file for divorce in New York are: adultery, confinement in prison of one spouse for three or more consecutive years, cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment that lasts for more than a year, living apart for more than a year based on a separation judgment, living apart for more than a year based on a written separation agreement and irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
- Discuss health insurance coverage – If you and your spouse are covered under health insurance that will terminate upon divorce, New York requires that both parties understand the implications of this before they file for divorce.
- Complete your forms – You can download a packet of forms for an uncontested divorce from New York State and fill them out yourself, or you can use our uncontested online divorce service at CompleteCase. We can help you identify and complete the forms appropriate to your circumstances. We will also provide instructions on what to do and when to file for divorce on your own.
- Submit the forms to your county clerk – New York requires that you file for divorce in the county which you or your spouse reside. When you take your forms in you will also need to bring payment for the initial filing ($210) in the form of cash or a money order. You will also need to pay an additional $125 to file your Note of Issue. When you submit your forms, be sure to include a self-addressed postcard with a stamp attached. The clerk will send this to you when your paperwork has been signed and is ready for you to pick up.
- Wait 60 to 90 days – Depending on where you live in the state, it can take anywhere from 60 to 90 days for the court to process your paperwork. When the divorce judgment has been signed you will be sent your postcard in the mail.
- Pick up your signed divorce judgment – After receiving your postcard, return to the county clerk and pick up the signed divorce judgment. The clerk will give you a certificated copy in exchange for $8 – worth purchasing for your records.
- Complete the Notice of Entry process – The last thing you must do is send your spouse a completed Notice of Entry form along with the signed divorce judgment. File proof that you have completed this step with the court and your divorce will be complete.