Divorce

HOW TO END A MARRIAGE: ANNULMENT AS AN OPTION

Undisputed Legal

It’s always difficult to end a marriage, and sometimes divorce seems like it’s insurmountable. There are multiple ways to end a marriage, however, including annulment and legal separation. This article will explore the nature of annulment as an option to end a marriage.

[1.1] WHAT IS ANNULMENT

An annulment or a declaration of nullity basically says that the marriage was invalidly contracted and is thus treated as though it never occurred. An annulment can only be granted if the marriage was invalid in the first place. Essentially, the marriage vanishes retroactively, as if they had never been married.

Unlike popular belief, an annulment cannot be granted for a marriage that has yet to be consummated or for a marriage that has lasted for a short time alone. However, an annulment can be granted if one spouse is physically incapable of having sexual relations. When the court does pronounce an annulment, it issues an order of dissolution that divides your property and addresses issues such as child support and child custody.

New York annulment and prohibited marriage laws govern the grounds for annulment (a court ruling that the marriage was never valid in the first place), time limits for obtaining an annulment, and the various scenarios in which a marriage would not be recognized by the state.

So what are the grounds for annulment

A general rule of thumb for identifying grounds for annulment comes from identifying the defect in the marriage. These can be divided often into four categories

  1. Defect of the form: If the marriage ceremony is invalid 
  2. Defect of contract: If it was not a marriage that was contracted, such as if there was a defect of intent on either side. This can occur if either party lacked the intent to enter into a lifelong, exclusive union, open to reproduction. 
  3. Defect of will: Because of “mental incapacity, ignorance, error about the person, error about marriage, fraud, knowledge of nullity, simulation, conditioned consent, force or grave fear”.
  4. Defect of capacity: If either party were married to another and thus unable to enter into the contract.

New York follows five specific grounds for annulment. A marriage may be annulled if [A.] one or both spouses were under age 18 at the time of the marriage, or [B.] were unable to consent to the marriage due to mental incapacity or [C.]  either spouse is physically unable to have sexual intercourse or [D.] either spouse was incurably mentally ill for at least five years, or [E.] if the marriage consent was obtained by duress, coercion or fraud.

Is there a time limit for obtaining an annulment?

No, there is no time limit attached to an annulment. The logical process behind this is that if a marriage is not valid at one point in time, it cannot be held valid later. This, however, also brings in the question of what happens if both spouses are underage at the time of the marriage and whether the marriage would still be invalid once they came of age.

The annulment may be waived if the spouses continue to freely live together (cohabit) after both have reached the age of consent. In a similar vein, annulment on the grounds of mental illness is an option only if the mental illness actually persists. 

If the grounds for the annulment are a physical incapacity to consummate the marriage, an annulment is only an option within five years of the marriage, as long as the incapacity was not known at the time of marriage. Although fraud is grounds for an annulment, fraud can be waived by the spouses continuing to live together after discovering the fraud. Specifically, in a situation where fraud would be sufficient for an annulment, if the innocent spouse discovers the fraud and does not immediately separate and live apart from the offending spouse, the fraud may have been waived and the innocent spouse has ratified the marriage

What are prohibited marriages?

New York does not allow marriages between ancestors and descendants, or siblings, regardless if they’re whole or half-blood. Additionally, Void and Voidable Marriages cannot be considered to be legitimate marriages. This means that if a union is bigamous/polygamous, incestuous, or performed by an unauthorized person, the marriage is immediately void and can never be recognized as valid in the state of New York, which is unlawful. This will be held to be the case regardless of the couple’s wishes. For a voidable marriage, however, one or both spouses has to ask the court to grant an annulment and have to prove they have legal grounds to nullify the marriage. 

An annulment is functionally equivalent to a divorce, but it is significantly harder to obtain an annulment in New York than a divorce. Many couples prefer divorce as it may be granted even if it’s uncontested and based on irreconcilable differences. However, at all points, the grounds for an annulment must be proven.

[2.1] WHAT IS LEGAL SEPARATION

When the spouses in a marriage decide they want to live apart from each other but follow certain living arrangements per a voluntary, written agreement, the arrangement is called a legal separation. It’s important to note here that legal separation cannot mean merely moving out of the marital home, and will require the separation agreement. If a spouse violates the agreement, the family court can enforce it. Unlike a divorce, a legal separation does not end a marriage.

Often, a legal separation does boil down to a couple who are unsure if they want to get a divorce, or who cannot afford to get divorced or for financial benefits, such as continued health insurance. This is by no means exhaustive, and there may be a significant number of reasons for a legal separation. The terms of the separation agreement having been established, the agreement can be filed in the County Clerk’s Office with the court filing fee. 

However, if there is a disagreement between the spouses as to the separation or its terms, legal action may be initiated to ask the court to order a separation and to establish its terms.

For more information on serving legal papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Sources

1.N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law §140(b-e); N.Y. Dom. Rel. Law §24; and 48 N.Y. Jur. 2d Domestic Relations §2441.

2. Domestic Relations Law sections 140

3. DRL 140(f) and DRL 141

4. DRL 140(b)

5. Dom. Rel. §5-7

The New York Guide To The Divorce Process

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The long road to divorce can often mean trying to navigate an exhausting and potentially expensive course. Divorce proceedings begin with one spouse bringing a suit for divorce proceedings against the other, the initiating spouse who filed the action for divorce being called the “plaintiff.” The other spouse (the one that needs to respond to the lawsuit for divorce) is called the “defendant.”

An uncontested divorce is the easiest and least troublesome form of divorce available. Meeting the requirements for this means that the individuals involved agree about the need for the divorce, division of property, and the custody of children, if any, amongst other conditions. It must be noted that disagreement on these fronts makes it more difficult to proceed with the action. As the disagreements grow more severe, divorce mediation, collaborative lawyers, or a personal attorney grow more imperative to the issue. Whether one goes to court is dependent on whether it is a contested or uncontested divorce.

[1.0] What is the residency requirement?
A prerequisite for divorce in New York is proof of residency, indicating that the individual has lived or been present in New York for a certain minimum period of time. This may be seen in the case that both parties were married over the continuous period of one year, and either one was living in the city at the time. Additionally, it must be noted that the idea of residency covers the fact that the circumstances that are lead to divorce occurred in the city that either one or both spouses lived in for a continuous period of one year.

If both individuals were not married in New York and have never lived as husband and wife there, then one person should have lived there for a continuous period of two years.

The divorce paperwork should be filed in the Supreme Court in the county where the spouses live. The divorce action initiation would require the plaintiff to file a summons or a summons with the complaint. A summons’ purpose is to invite the other party to the legal proceeding; it intimates that the divorce action is underway. A complaint, on the other hand, is a document that details the specific reasons for divorce.

If a summons is served without a complaint, the defendant has 20 days to serve a “Notice of Appearance” on the plaintiff, which notifies the court of the defendant’s participation in the court process. Once the defendant appears in court, the plaintiff has 20 days to serve the defendant with the complaint. If the summons is filed with the complaint, the defendant has 20 days to answer the complaint.

[2.0] Service requirements for divorce
In a divorce, the process server delivers the Summons and complaints to the defendant. The server then completes an Affidavit of Service that identifies the recipient, the date, time, and address. In the event, there is no address, place, and manner of service and set forth facts showing that the service was made by an authorized person and in an authorized manner.

The responding party must be served with the Summons to ensure that they are notified of the divorce action. The service method herein would require the divorce paperwork to be handed directly to the individual, a service method called personal service. Often, the affidavit of service in personal service describes the recipient, including details like sex, hair color, etc.

The person serving the papers on the defendant cannot be one of the parties to the case, which means one spouse cannot serve the other. The server can be a friend, relative, or a process server hired by the plaintiff and be at least 18 years old. The defendant completes the acknowledgment of receipt and mails or delivers one copy of it within 30 days from the date of receipt. Process Service is complete on the date the signed acknowledgment of receipt is mailed or delivered to the sender. The signed acknowledgment of receipt proves the service.

[2.1] Service by publication
Service by publication provides constructive notice when one spouse is missing. This order entails a summons and a notice to the defendant in addition to a statement of the nature of the relief sought for the divorce action. This will then be published in a newspaper once in the subsequent three weeks.

Often, this order for a summons service is to be mailed on or before the first day of the aforementioned publication. The caveat to this will be if the person cannot be located even following due diligence taken and if the court allows for the dispensation of this mailing. Adequate care must be taken to find the missing spouse, however.

[3.0] Grounds for divorce.
New York divorce law changed on August 15, 2010, when Governor David Paterson signed no-fault divorce into law in New York State. Until 2010, New York recognized divorces only upon fault-based criteria or upon separation. After the amendment, spouses can pursue divorce that is classified as either fault-based or no-fault. In the latter, the only ground necessary to be stated is that the marriage has ‘irretrievably broken’ for a period of over six months, indicating the relationship between the spouses cannot be repaired. The fault does not need to be stated, and the court does not need any more justification from the parties.

In contrast to this, fault-based divorce requires wrongdoing on the part of the defendant, which led to the marital bond’s dissolution. The grounds for this are limited, including cruel and inhuman treatment, including physical, mental, or emotional abuse, abandonment for a continuous period of at least one year of constructive abandonment, constructive abandonment, imprisonment for three consecutive years, and adultery. Adultery is difficult to prove as it requires corroborating evidence from a third party; thus, the defendant’s statement that he or she had sexual relations with a third party is not legally admissible to permit the court to grant a divorce to the plaintiff. Furthermore, if the adultery was “condoned,” i.e., the cheated-on party knew about the extra-marital sexual relationship but continued to stay in a marital, conjugal relationship with their spouse, the adultery cannot serve as a cause for divorce.

Today, there aren’t many benefits to filing for a fault-based divorce. However, if your state views fault as a factor in determining alimony or marital property division, it’s something to consider.

The third basis for divorce is also divorce based on separation. The grant of this form of divorce hinges on proof that the two parties lived separately for a year minimum, signing a written agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the separation. The separation agreement is submitted with the summons and the divorce complaint, which will allow the Judge to add the same to the divorce proceedings.

[4.0] A brief view of alimony in a divorce
Alimony, or spousal support and maintenance, has seen a shift away from lifetime or permanent alimony. This form of alimony is now typically reserved for long-term marriages, and in the current divorce environment, it seems almost obsolete.

One is more apt to see a court award limited duration alimony. Examples of this short-term spousal support could be rehabilitative alimony (given for the period of time allowable for a spouse to enter the workforce viably) or reimbursement alimony (awarded in short marriages where one spouse contributes to the other’s educational pursuits). The determining factor in recent alimony proceedings has been one spouse’s needs weighed against the others’ ability to pay.

In addition to the emotional reasons to resist a divorce, people may have reasons that have to do with money. Ending the marriage allows the court to divide property even if one’s spouse doesn’t agree to do so. Even if you don’t get a divorce, one’s spouse must still provide support for as long as the marriage lasts, and a spousal support order can thus be arranged from Family Court.

For more information on serving divorce papers, contact a divorce process service (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out Types Of Orders Of Protection And What Each One Does.

Sources

1.DRL § 230
2.NY DRL §170.7)
3.Domestic Relations Law §170.1
4.NY DRL §170.2
5.Occurs when one spouse refuses to have sexual interactions for at least one year
6.NY DRL §170.3
7. NY DRL §170.4

HOW TO FILE FOR DIVORCE IN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

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You can file for divorce in the District of Columbia (“DC”) if either you or your spouse has been a resident of DC for six months before the date you file the divorce papers with the court. It does not matter where you are married. Only one of you has to meet the DC residency requirement. One can only ask for alimony and distribution of marital property in your divorce case. You will lose your opportunity to obtain alimony and distribution of marital property if you do not ask for them in your divorce case.

One may include requests for child custody and child support in a divorce case. You also can ask for child custody and/or child support in a separate case from the divorce case. In some instances, a divorce can be filed in the District of Columbia but child custody and/or child support must be filed in another state. There are two grounds for divorce in DC

Separation without cohabitation for at least six months, if the separation is mutual and voluntary (in other words, if you and your spouse agree to separate), OR Separation without cohabitation for at least one year, if one of you does not agree to the separation and divorce, then the required separation period is one year.

Filing For Legal Separation

Legal Separation is a court-decreed right to live apart, with the rights and obligations of divorced persons, but without divorce. The parties are still married and cannot remarry. A spouse may petition for a legal separation usually on the same basis as for divorce and include requests for child custody, alimony, child support and division of property. For people who want to avoid the supposed stigma of divorce, who hold strong religious objections to divorce or who hope to save a marriage, legal separation is an apparent solution. With more states allowing no-fault divorce, the use of separation agreements and informal separation, legal separation is rarely used.

Mutual and Voluntary Separation

This ground is the same as the ground for absolute divorce described above. However, there is no minimum time period required for the separation prior to filing the legal separation case. Continuous Separation for One Year This ground is the same as the ground for absolute divorce described above. Additional information You can obtain additional information concerning divorce or legal separation and receive help completing the necessary court papers to file a divorce or legal separation by visiting the Family Court Self Help Center, Room JM 570 of the Superior Court.

For more information on serving divorce papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Divorce Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

HOW TO OBTAIN DIVORCE RECORDS IN NEW JERSEY

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In New Jersey, divorce cases (termed “dissolution cases” by the courts) are filed and heard in the Family Division of the Superior Court at the county court level. After a case is completed and a judgment of divorce is issued, the case is closed. Records for closed divorce cases are stored and archived by the Superior Court Clerk’s Office at our warehouse in Trenton. The number of years between the time a case is closed and the time the case records are transferred to the Superior Court Clerk’s Office for archiving varies from county to county.

In many circumstances, it may not be necessary to obtain a copy of the actual Judgment of Divorce. The Superior Court Clerk’s Office can prepare a Certificate of Divorce for a nominal fee. The certificate contains the county of venue, docket number, names of the parties, and date of the Final Judgment of Divorce, and is stamped with the Seal of the Superior Court.

The Dissolution Files Inventory chart below shows the inventory of divorce case files currently stored at the RIC. The “Case Year” refers to the most recent docket year sent for storage at the RIC. This means that all divorce records up to and including the year listed under “Case Year” are available at the RIC.

To determine whether your case file is located at the RIC you must know: 1) the county in which the divorce case took place and 2) the year the case was filed. This information can be determined from the docket number assigned to the case. The docket number will have either an “FM” or “M” prefix followed by a 7- or 9-digit number. The last two digits of the docket number indicate the case year. See the following for examples of docket numbers:

  • Example 1: “FM-01-07500-00” would mean that the divorce case was filed in Atlantic County (“01”) in the year 2000 (“00”). (Please note, when the docket number contains 9 digits, the first two digits may represent the county code. The two-digit county codes are listed on the chart below after the name of each county.)
  • Example 2: “Atlantic County, M-07500-85” would mean that the divorce case was filed in Atlantic County in 1985 (“85”).

NOTE: If you do not know your docket number, please contact the Superior Court Clerk’s Office Customer Service Unit at 609-421-6100. A search can be conducted for your docket number if you provide the following information: the county where the divorce occurred, the approximate year the divorce occurred, and the names of the parties involved.

Using the case docket number, find the county where the divorce case took place and the corresponding case year in the chart below. If your divorce case falls within the records listed in the chart, contact Customer Service about viewing your case or to obtain copies of case documents.

If your divorce case file is not at the RIC in Trenton, contact the Family Division of the county court in which the divorce took place for information on how to obtain a copy.

For more information on serving divorce papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Divorce Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Divorce And Deciding Whether To Go To Trial

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The decision of whether or not to go to trial and to have a judge decide contested issues often involves a cost-benefit analysis. If the financial benefit that may be received from going to trial is high compared to the cost of going to trial, it may make sense to go to trial. For example, if wife and husband dispute the value of a business started by the husband during the marriage and the difference in their valuations is substantial, then it may make sense to let a judge decide the issue rather than give in to an unreasonable valuation by the other side. 

The parties will need to look at the facts objectively. How much attorney time will it take to develop facts about the business? How much will it cost to hire an expert to evaluate the business and testify at trial? If, after gathering preliminary information and trying negotiations, the husband still says the business is worth $50,000 and the wife still believes the business is worth $1 million, the only way to solve the problem may be to go to court. On the other hand, if the business is a very small one, with the husband saying it is worth $10,000 and the wife saying it is worth $15,000, it does not make sense for one or both sides to spend $10,000 in attorneys fees and experts’ fees to try to ascertain a precise value of the business. 

For more information on serving divorce papers, contact Undisputed Legal our  Divorce Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

Domestic Relation Law 232

Notice of nature of matrimonial action: Proof of Service 

a. In an action to annul a marriage or for divorce or for separation, if the complaint is not personally served with the summons, the summons shall have legibly written or printed upon the face thereof: “Action to annul a marriage”, “Action to declare the nullity of a void marriage”, “Action for a divorce”, or “Action for a separation”, as the case may be, and shall specify the nature of any ancillary relief demanded. A judgment shall not be rendered in favor of the plaintiff upon the defendant’s default in appearing or pleading, unless either (1) the summons and a copy of the complaint were personally delivered to the defendant; or (2) the copy of the summons (a) personally delivered to the defendant, or (b) served on the defendant pursuant to an order directing the method of service of the summons in accordance with the provisions of section three hundred eight or three hundred fifteen of the civil practice law and rules, shall contain such notice

b. An affidavit or certificate proving service shall state affirmatively in the body thereof that the required notice was written or printed on the face of the copy of the summons delivered to the defendant and what knowledge the affiant or officer who executed the certificate had that he was the defendant named and how he acquired such knowledge. The court may require the affiant or officer who executed the affidavit or certificate to appear in court and be examined in respect thereto.

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HOW TO FILE FOR DIVORCE IN NEW YORK

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STEP 1. Prepare an original and two copies of the Summons With Notice (Form UD-1) or the Summons and Verified Complaint (Form UD-1a and Form UD-2).

STEP 2.Purchase an index number at the County Clerk’s Office and file the original of the Summons With Notice or the source of the Summons and Verified Complaint with the County Clerk. Unless you are granted a poor person’s waiver, you will be required to pay $210 for the index number. Check with the County Clerk regarding acceptable forms of payment. Many County Clerks also will require that you fill out an Index Number Application Form at the time of filing, so be sure to bring with you the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all attorneys or, if unrepresented, of the parties themselves.

STEP 3. Put the index number and the filing date on the two copies of the Summons With Notice (or the Summons and Verified Complaint) if a clerk does not do this upon filing the papers.

STEP 4.Defendant agrees to the divorce; he or she will need to sign the Affidavit of Defendant (Form UD-7). This might be done by submitting the form to Defendant together with the Summons With Notice or Summons and Verified Complaint and Notice of Automatic Orders and Notice of Guideline Maintenance if the divorce was commenced on or after 1/25/16. Plaintiff should send the form to Defendant with a copy of the instructions on filling it out. The defendant must send the completed form back to Plaintiff before having the case placed on the calendar so that the document can be filed with the other states. If Defendant does not return the signed form to Plaintiff, follow STEP 5 below.

STEP 5. Have the Defendant served with one copy of the Summons With Notice or Summons and Verified Complaint, and the Notice of Automatic Orders, the Notice of Guideline Maintenance, if the divorce was commenced on or after 1/25/16, and the Notice Concerning Continuation of Health Care Coverage, by being personally handed the papers. NOTE: The Maintenance Guidelines apply only to divorces commenced on or after 1/25/16, and therefore you should not serve the Notice of Guideline Maintenance with the Summons if your divorce was started before 1/25/16. “Maintenance” means support paid by one party to the marriage (“spouse”) for the help of the other party under a Final Judgment of Divorce.

  • If your spouse lives in New York State: The server must be a resident of New York State, over eighteen years of age, and cannot be a party to the action (this means you may not serve your spouse with the Summons).
  • If your spouse is presently residing outside of New York State: You must still ensure that he or she is personally served with the summons. If you use a non-New York State resident to help your spouse outside of New York State, the server must be a person authorized to do service under the laws of that jurisdiction or a duly qualified attorney in that jurisdiction, and you must submit a copy of the authorization that allows that person to serve the summons. You are encouraged to check with the local sheriff and, if necessary, with a country’s Consulate or Embassy regarding any local requirements for service. 

Service upon the Defendant of the Summons With Notice or Summons and Verified Complaint and Notice of Automatic Orders must be made within 120 days of filing with the County Clerk’s Office. If you do not know where the Defendant is located, you may wish to delay filing the Summons With Notice or Summons and Verified Complaint until he or she is found so that the 120-day period does not begin running while you search for your spouse. 

IMPORTANT: The Notice of Guideline Maintenance must also be served with the Summons With Notice or Summons and Verified Complaint BUT ONLY if Your Action Was Commenced on or after January 25, 2016.

IMPORTANT: If there are children of the marriage under the age of 21, you must also serve a copy of the Child Support Standards Chart on the Defendant.

STEP 6.If you had to follow STEP 5 above because Defendant would not agree to complete and return the Affidavit of Defendant, the person that served Defendant must prepare an “Affidavit of Service” (Form UD-3), which attests to the service of the Summons With Notice or Summons and Verified Complaint, Notice of Automatic Orders, Notice of Guideline Maintenance if the divorce was commenced on or after 1/25/16, and any other documents served. This affidavit must be submitted along with the full set of divorce papers when you place your case on the court’s calendar. There is a 40-day waiting period from the service date to putting the matter on the court’s calendar. If Defendant does not sign Form UD-7 to waive the 40 day period, you must wait the full 40 days.

STEP 7.If the parties were married in a civil ceremony or Defendant signs the Affidavit of Defendant (Form UD-7), SKIP THIS STEP. If the parties were married in a religious ceremony, Defendant must be served with a copy of the Sworn Statement of Removal of Barriers to Remarriage (Form UD-4). The plaintiff must fill out the original and make a copy of the form. The document must be served on the Defendant either by personal service and the Summons With Notice or the Summons and Verified Complaint or by mail. If you fill the form by mail, it must be done before you place your action on the court’s calendar because you will need to file the original condition with the other required documents. Service by mail must be done by someone other than the Plaintiff over the age of 18 and not a party to the action. When you file this form, you must attach the Affidavit of Service (Form UD-4a).  

If Defendant appears and does not consent to this action:* Then your matter is no longer an uncontested matrimonial, and you will be unable to obtain an uncontested divorce. You may want to consult an attorney at that point.

After you have completed Steps 1-7, you are ready to place your case on the court’s calendar. If Defendant consents to the action by signing the Affidavit of Defendant (Form UD-7), you may immediately put your case on the court’s calendar. Otherwise, you will have to wait until 40 days after the date of the service of the summons.

You must complete the following steps to place your case on the calendar:

STEP 8: You must complete Forms UD-3 through UD-12 (include UD-7 only if signed by Defendant). Form UD-3 (Affidavit of Service) and Form UD-4 (Sworn Statement of Removal of Barriers to Remarriage) need not be completed or filed if Defendant has signed Form UD-7 (Affidavit of Defendant) and checked Box 6b on the form, Form UD-8(3) Child Support Worksheet, Form UD-8a (Support Collection Unit Information Sheet) and Form UD-8b (Qualified Medical Child Support Order) need not be completed or filed if there are no unemancipated children of the marriage. Form UD-8(2) (Maintenance Guidelines Worksheet) need not be completed or filed or if neither party seeks maintenance as a payee under the Maintenance Guidelines Law. Form UD-8(1) (Annual Income Worksheet) is not required if neither party seeks care or child support.

STEP 9: You also must complete the Request for Judicial Intervention (Form UD-13) and, if there are children under the age of 18 who are subject to the matrimonial action, the Addendum Form 840M.

STEP 10: You also must complete the Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage, the postcard, and, where applicable, the UCS 111 (Divorce and Child Support Summary Form). If a party is requesting child support payable to a person or entity other than a child support collection unit, the party must complete, as well, the New York State Case Registry Form.

STEP 11: You must file the completed forms, including a copy of the Summons With Notice or the Summons and Verified Complaint, with the County Clerk’s Office. Include three (3) copies of the Note of Issue (Form UD-9).

STEP 12: Unless you are granted a poor person’s waiver, you must pay a filing fee for filing the Note of Issue (Form UD-9) and the Request for Judicial Intervention (Form UD-13).

All of the papers filed with the County Clerk’s Office will be submitted to the judge. If the papers are approved, the judge will sign the Judgment of Divorce (Form UD-11).

If you ask for maintenance, custody, visitation, or distribution of property, the court may require a hearing, even if there is a prior court order or a previous agreement between you and your spouse. If there is no last court order or agreement, you and your spouse can try to settle these issues by signing a written agreement. Still, any agreement with your spouse is subject to judicial approval before the court issuing a Judgment or an order incorporating the parties’ agreement. Before deciding on acceptance of the agreement, the court may also require a hearing. The court will notify you and your spouse to appear if a hearing is required.

The Judgment of Divorce (Form UD-11) needs to be filed and entered in the County Clerk’s Office. How this occurs depends upon the procedure of the county in which you brought the action. Consult the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office for information regarding your obligations to retrieve and/or enter the signed judgment and supporting papers. Should you receive notice that the papers have been filed on your behalf by the court, or if you point the articles, you may go to the County Clerk’s Office to obtain a certified copy of the judgment. You must bring identification with you because matrimonial files are confidential, and information will be released only to a party or his or her attorney. The certified copy will cost between $4.00 and $10.00, but the fee will be waived if you obtained a poor person waiver. A copy of the judgment of divorce must be served on Defendant. To do this, you must have served on Defendant a copy of the signed and entered Judgment of Divorce (Form UD-11), together with the completed Notice of Entry (Form UD-14). Service by mail is sufficient. It would help if you asked the Process Server who serves the Judgment of Divorce with Notice of Entry to sign the Affidavit of Service of Judgment of Divorce (Form UD-15) before a Notary Public. A copy of the Judgment of Divorce and Notice of Entry must be attached to the signed and notarized Affidavit of Service. Keep the Affidavit with your important papers.

For more information on serving divorce papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Divorce Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

HOW MUCH IS A DIVORCE WITHOUT A LAWYER

Undisputed Legal | Divorce Process Service

Usually, the total fees will be approximately $400, as follows:

  • Starting the case: It costs $210 to buy a case Index Number at your County Clerk’s Office to start a New York State divorce case. 
  • Later in the case: Other fees totaling approximately $160 will have to be paid. These additional fees will be described as you follow the steps in this booklet.
  • At the end of the case: If the court grants the divorce, several other fees will have to pay for certain legal papers showing that the divorce was approved. These costs vary from county to county, but will roughly total $5-$30.

What if you cannot afford to pay these fees? You can ask the Supreme Court where you are filing the divorce to allow you to do your case without paying them (a “Waiver of Fees”).

Are you in a federal, state, or local correctional institution? If so, and you want to ask for a fee waiver, there is a special procedure. Information on the procedure is available from the Supreme Court Clerk’s Office of the county in which you are incarcerated. If your facility has a law library, see New York Civil Procedure Law and Rules (CPLR) Section 1101(f).

For more information on serving divorce papers, contact Undisputed Legal our Divorce Process Service department at (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers.

HEALTH INSURANCE AFTER DIVORCE

Direct payment of a former spouse’s health insurance normally is not part of an alimony agreement or order. However, the recipient may wish to use some alimony payments to purchase health insurance if the recipient is not already covered. 

When a couple of divorces, the health insurance policy covering the family (if there was such a policy) no longer covers both spouses. The policy covers only the spouse who had insurance through work or an individual approach. Children who were covered under a family policy generally are still covered under the policy after a divorce. 

A federal law passed in the 1980s requires most employer-sponsored group health plans to offer divorced spouses of covered workers continued coverage at group rates for as long as three years after the divorce. The divorced spouse of a worker must pay for the content, but the range is available. 

A divorced spouse who wishes to take advantage of this law should act as soon as the divorce is final or as soon as the coverage has been lost. He or she should contact the covered worker’s employer (human relations or personnel department) to learn the steps that must be taken. Still, generally, the notification has to be within sixty days of the divorce or loss of coverage. Continued coverage is not automatic. The law provides that the worker’s employer must explain the divorced spouse’s right to continue coverage within fourteen days of being notified. The spouse has no more than sixty days to choose to continue the coverage. The employer will advise what content is available, its cost, and when payments must be made, and any steps that must be taken to establish eligibility for the health insurance. Health care reforms passed by Congress in 1996 make health insurance easier to obtain, significantly if a person is changing jobs. 

For information on serving legal papers, click here or call (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers by clicking here.

DIVORCE LUMP SUM ALIMONY

Lump-sum alimony, or alimony in gross, refers to alimony that is a fixed payment that will generally be made regardless of circumstances that would be a basis for the termination of other alimony types. For example, lump-sum alimony, or alimony in gross, normally would be paid even if the recipient remarries. Depending on the wording of the agreement or order, payments could also be made to the recipient’s estate in the event the recipient dies. 

This type of alimony usually is instead of a property settlement. Depending on how the alimony is structured, it could provide a tax advantage to the payor by deducting the payor and income to the recipient. Lump-sum alimony, or alimony in gross, could be used as a type of reimbursement alimony to ensure that one spouse is paid back for certain expenditures, even if the recipient remarries, cohabits with someone, or does not otherwise need the alimony for day-to-day support. 

For information on serving legal papers, click here or call (800) 774-6922. Representatives are available Monday-Friday 8 am – 8 pm EST.  If you found this article helpful, please consider donating.  Thank you for following our blog, A space dedicated to bringing you news on breaking legal developments, interesting articles for law professionals, and educational material for all. We hope that you enjoy your time on our blog and revisit us!  We also invite you to check out our Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers by clicking here.