How To Navigate Divorce in New York

This article will provide guidance on how to navigate divorce in New York. Navigating a divorce in New York can be a complex and often costly journey. The process starts when one spouse, the “plaintiff,” files against the other, known as the “defendant,” to initiate divorce proceedings. Please click here to watch the video on divorce service.

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Opting for an Uncontested Divorce

Uncontested divorce offers the simplest path, where both parties agree on crucial issues like asset division and child custody. Disagreements, however, necessitate mediation, collaborative lawyers, or personal attorneys, especially for contested divorces. Click here for New York State Uncontested Divorce Packet Forms.

Meeting New York’s Residency Requirements

For a divorce in New York, you must meet specific residency requirements. These include living in the state for a continuous period before the divorce. You file the paperwork in the Supreme Court of the county where either spouse resides. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

Initiating the Divorce: The Summons and Complaint

The process begins with filing a summons or a summons with a complaint. The summons alerts the other party to the legal action, while the complaint details the reasons for divorce. Defendants have 20 days to respond to a complaint, ensuring their legal involvement. Click here for information on How Rush Process Service Can Expedite Your Case.

Serving Divorce Papers in New York

You must serve the divorce papers, including the Summons and Complaint, directly to the defendant. This task cannot be done by either spouse and often involves a professional process server. Click here for information on How Process Servers Protect Your Rights: Myths Debunked

Serving Divorce Papers by Publication

If one spouse is unreachable, you may serve divorce papers by publication in a newspaper, a method that follows strict legal guidelines to inform the absent spouse. Click here for information on How To Identify A Good Process Service Agency.

Grounds for Divorce

Since August 15, 2010, New York allows no-fault divorce, requiring only the assertion that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Fault-based divorces are less common due to strict proof requirements and limited benefits in modern legal contexts.

Understanding Alimony

New York’s approach to alimony has evolved, favoring limited-duration or rehabilitative alimony over lifetime support. This change reflects a modern view on spousal support, emphasizing fairness and independence post-divorce.

Navigating a divorce in New York involves understanding residency, divorce types, and how to serve legal documents. Grasping these elements is vital for a smooth legal process and fair resolution.


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New York: (212) 203-8001 – 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022
Brooklyn: (347) 983-5436 – 300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Queens: (646) 357-3005 – 118-35 Queens Blvd, Suite 400, Forest Hills, New York 11375
Long Island: (516) 208-4577 – 626 RXR Plaza, 6th Floor, Uniondale, New York 11556
Westchester: (914) 414-0877 – 50 Main Street, 10th Floor, White Plains, New York 10606
Connecticut: (203) 489-2940 – 500 West Putnam Avenue, Suite 400, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
New Jersey: (201) 630-0114 – 101 Hudson Street, 21 Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302
Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 – 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Suite 300, Washington DC 20004


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