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New York Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer New York divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
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How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce in New York? 1224
The waiting period depends on the grounds selected.
  • No-fault: Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least six months;
  • Cruel and Inhuman Treatment-No waiting period;
  • Abandonment-One year of abandonment prior to the date of filing;
  • Imprisonment-Three consecutive years of imprisonment prior to the date of filing;
  • Adultery-No waiting period;
  • Separation Decree-One year from the date the Decree was issued by the Court;
  • Separation Agreement-One year from the date the Agreement was filed with the Clerk.
Note that for the grounds of Cruel and Inhuman Treatment or Adultery, once all of the documents have been filed, it is simply a matter of waiting for the court to approve and sign them. It is difficult to say how long this will take because it depends on how busy the court's docket is, but customers should expect at least a few weeks.
How much is the filing fee in New York? 1223
The fees charged by the Court when filing for divorce in New York are NOT included in the DivorceWriter price.
  • $210.00 is currently charged to buy an Index Number in New York. (Note: This is the terminology used in New York for what is generally called a filing fee in other states.)
  • Additional Fees:
    (1) $30.00 fee for filing the Note of Issue;
    (2) $95.00 fee for filing the Request for Judicial Intervention (NOT required for New York City filers);
    (3) $5.00 fee for filing the Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage.
What are the grounds for filing for divorce in New York? 1366
There is one no-fault ground and six fault grounds for divorce in New York.
  1. Irretrievable Breakdown-Beginning October 12, 2010, New Yorkers may file for no-fault divorce on the ground that the marriage has been irretrievably broken for at least six months.
  2. Cruel and Inhuman Treatment-In the past 5 years the defendant engaged in conduct that endangered the mental and physical well-being of the Plaintiff on at least two different occasions.
  3. Abandonment-Defendant, without cause or consent of Plaintiff, has for more than 1 year (and still continuing) abandoned the Plaintiff in one of the following ways: (1) Defendant left marital residence and has not returned; (2) Defendant has deprived the Plaintiff of access to marital residence; OR (3) Defendant has refused to have sexual relations with the Plaintiff despite repeated requests by Plaintiff.
  4. Imprisonment-That after the marriage, Defendant was confined in prison for 3 or more consecutive years AND Defendant is still in prison (must be less than 5 years since the end of the third year of imprisonment).
  5. Adultery-Defendant committed adultery on a specific date, and Plaintiff ceased to live with Defendant upon the discovery of Adultery. This is the only ground that requires a hearing and witnesses.
  6. Separation by Decree-A separation decree or judgment was entered by a court more than 1 year ago and Plaintiff has complied with terms of decree.
  7. Separation by Written Separation Agreement-A separation agreement was filed with the county clerk more than 1 year ago and Plaintiff has complied with terms of agreement.
What are the basic steps to getting a divorce in New York? 1227
Step One: Buy an Index Number from the clerk's office and file your Complaint and Summons. This can be done at the same time.

Step Two: Have a paid process server (or friend who is not personally involved in your case) serve your spouse with copies of the filed documents. Your spouse signs one of the documents and returns it to you.

Step Three: File the document signed by your spouse along with numerous other documents with the Clerk's office.

Step Four: For all grounds except for Adultery, no hearing is needed. Wait for the Court to review and sign your final documents. You will receive copies back through the mail.

Step Five: Mail the finalized copies to your spouse and mail the completed Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage to the proper office. Your divorce is complete.
Is no-fault divorce available in New York? 2479
Yes. Under the no-fault divorce law, which went into effect on October 12, 2010, a couple is able to obtain a divorce in New York on the grounds that their marriage has been irretrievably broken for at least six months.
Which spouse can file for divorce? 132
If you are using the no-fault grounds of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least six months, either spouse may file for divorce. However, if you are using one of the fault grounds, unless you and your spouse have been following the terms of a Separation Decree/Separation Agreement for at least one year and have decided it to convert a divorce, the spouse who files for divorce will be required to allege one of four possible grounds against the other spouse. The four grounds are:
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Imprisonment
  • Abandonment
  • Adultery

When deciding which spouse should file for divorce, be aware that, in an uncontested divorce the other spouse must not object to the filing spouse alleging one of the fault grounds against him or her.
What constitutes cruel and inhuman treatment in New York for divorce purposes? 154
Common examples of cruel and inhuman treatment are:
  • Physical abuse
  • Calling offensive and insulting names
  • Constant screaming, profanity or other verbal abuse
  • Adultery
  • Wrongly accusing you of adultery
  • Publicly flaunting a relationship with another man or woman
  • Staying away from the home without providing a reasonable explanation
  • Withholding affection without providing a reasonable explanation to the point that it has a physical effect upon the other innocent spouse

DivorceWriter Customer Service cannot assist you in selecting a grounds for divorce.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in New York? 1228
The filing spouse/Plaintiff must find a person who is over 18 and not personally involved with the case to put the divorce documents directly into the hands of the Defendant. Then, that server fills out an Affidavit of Service with his or her name, address, and date and location of service. The Affidavit of Service must be signed by the server in front of a Notary Public. Once this is done, the completed and notarized Affidavit of Service is given back to the Plaintiff to file with the Court.

If the Defendant is currently living outside the state of New York, Plaintiff must still take steps to make sure the documents are hand-delivered to Defendant. If Plaintiff selects a non-New York State resident to serve Defendant in another state or in another country, the selected Server must be either a commercial process server or other person authorized to serve process in the state or country such as a sheriff. If Defendant will be served in another state, Plaintiff may wish to contact the sheriff's office in the county where service will occur for more information on service. If Defendant will be served in a foreign country, Plaintiff should contact that country's consulate or embassy for more information on service. The Affidavit of Service must be completed by the person who hand-delivers the documents to Defendant. The Server should also write his or her title in the signature portion or otherwise indicate how he or she has the authority to serve legal documents in that state or country. It may be necessary to customize the signature/notary portion of the Affidavit of Service if service is made in a foreign country.
What is considered to be the date of separation in New York? 647
The term "separation date" sometimes refers to the date when the spouses stopped living at... more
What constitutes abandonment? 2186
Abandonment refers to the offending (non-filing) spouse committing one of the three following acts:
  • Physically leaving the marital residence;
  • Refusing to have sexual relations despite requests from you;
  • Locking you out of the marital residence.
It is important to remember the requirements for the acts of abandonment listed above, which are that:
  • You did not consent to the abandonment;
  • You did not treat your spouse in such a way that it justifies his or her abandonment;
  • The abandonment started at least one year ago and continues to this date.
DivorceWriter Customer Service cannot advise or help you select a grounds for divorce.
What are the most common grounds? 2185
Since the introduction of the New York no-fault divorce ground of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage lasting at least six months, more than 80% of DivorceWriter's New York customers have selected it.

The remaining customers who selected a fault ground selected the following grounds most frequently:
  • Abandonment
  • Cruel and Inhuman Treatment
  • Settlement Agreement filed more than 1 year ago

Additionally, for those customers who select Abandonment as the grounds for filing for divorce, below is an approximate breakdown of the types of Abandonment alleged against the non-filing spouse:
  • Spouse left home more than a year ago - 66%
  • Spouse denied sex for more than a year - 27%
  • Spouse denied access to home for more than a year - 7%
DivorceWriter Customer Service cannot provide you with advice or help in selecting a grounds for divorce.
Is it difficult to prove adultery if I choose that as the grounds for my divorce? 2089
Adultery is difficult to prove. You are required to submit the sworn affidavit of a third person (not your spouse) who knows that the Defendant committed adultery and is willing to swear to it. Even if it is proven, there are certain circumstances in which it cannot be used as grounds for a divorce. For example, if adultery has occurred, but the Plaintiff forgives the Defendant, or if the Plaintiff also committed adultery, it cannot be used as the grounds for divorce. Also, the Plaintiff and Defendant must cease to live together upon Plaintiff learning of the adultery.

It is much easier to choose Cruel and Inhuman Treatment as the grounds for divorce and list adultery as one of the examples of that treatment.
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 1225
No hearing is required for any grounds except adultery.

If adultery is the grounds alleged, the Plaintiff must go to Court and bring at least one witness to support the allegation. Many couples avoid this issue by simply selecting the grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment, and then supporting that grounds by listing adulterous incidents as proof of cruel and inhuman treatment. This generally allows them to avoid the hearing.
What documents am I selecting with the New York DivorceWriter package? 1226
All DivorceWriter New York customers are selecting the following documents:
  • Application for Index Number
  • Summons UD-1a
  • Verified Complaint UD-2
  • Notice of Automatic Orders (D.R.L. 236)
  • Notice of Guideline Maintenance for Uncontested Divorce
  • Notice Concerning Continuation of Health Care Coverage
  • Affidavit of Service UD-3
  • Affidavit of Defendant UD-7
  • Affidavit of Plaintiff UD-6
  • Affidavit of Regularity UD-5
  • Sworn Statement of Removal of Barriers to Remarriage (if you were married in a religious ceremony)
  • Marital Settlement Agreement (also sometimes referred to as a Stipulation Agreement)
  • Note of Issue UD-9
  • Request for Judicial Intervention UD-13
  • Matrimonial Request for Judicial Intervention Addendum UCS-840M
  • Findings of Fact and Conclusions of LawUD-10
  • Judgment of Divorce UD-11
  • 130 Certificate UD-12
  • Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage
  • Notice of Entry UD-14
  • Affidavit of Service by Mail of Judgment of Divorce with Notice of Entry UD-15
  • Statement of Net Worth (Monroe County only)

If you select divorce with minor children, you are also selecting the following forms:
  • Child Support Worksheet UD-8(3)
  • Annual Income Worksheet UD-8(1)
  • Income Deduction Order
  • Support Collection Unit Information Sheet UD-8a
  • New York State Case Registry Filing Form
  • Child Support Summary Form USC-111
  • Qualified Medical Child Support Order UD-8b
  • Stipulated Parenting Plan
What are the New York residency requirements for filing for divorce? 1365
To divorce in New York you must meet at least one of these residency requirements:

Both spouses currently live in New York AND cause of divorce happened in state;
At least one spouse has lived in New York for at least the last two years;
At least one spouse has lived in New York for at least the last year AND couple was married in state;
At least one spouse has lived in New York for at least the last year AND couple lived in state while married;
At least one spouse has lived in New York at least the last year AND cause of divorce occurred in state.

The county for filing is the county in which either of the parties lives.

For more information, see DRL Sec. 230.
In which county can the divorce be filed? 128
In New York, the proper county for filing the divorce is the county of residence of either spouse. If both spouses reside in the same county, then that county is the proper county for filing. However, if each spouse resides in a different New York county, either county is acceptable.
Will we have to go to court? 113
Generally, no hearing is required. However, if you select Adultery as the ground for your divorce, you will be required to go to court. If any other ground is selected, a hearing should not be required.
Where do I file the divorce documents in New York? 1222
Divorces are filed in the Supreme Court located in the county of filing.
Where do I file my divorce documents? 114
All divorces in New York are filed at the county clerk's office in the county was either spouse lives.
My divorce documents were sent back due to not having a Stipulation with them. How do I get this document? 3163
A Stipulation, or Stipulation Agreement, is another way that some counties refer to the Marital Settlement Agreement. If the Court Clerk in your county asks for a Stipulation, they are asking for you to file three (3) copies of a Marital Settlement Agreement signed by both spouses in front of a Notary Public. The Marital Settlement Agreement is included in the New York DivorceWriter package.
What changes were made to New York divorce laws in January 2016? 3836
In January of 2016, New York law changed with regard to requirements for child support and maintenance/spousal support forms.

Because the new laws apply to child support and maintenance/spousal support, many New York divorce forms were not affected by these changes. However, the revision date on the applicable DivorceWriter documents is January 2016.
Is same-sex divorce available in New York? 3119
Yes. The same-sex marriage law went into effect in New York on July 24, 2011.
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How is child support calculated in New York? 125
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing this online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package.

The New York Child Support Standards are available here.
What if my spouse and I have agreed to a child support amount that is different from the standard amount? 1583
Spouses who both want to use a child support amount that is different from the state calculation have the option to enter that information in this portion of the interview. In order to use a different support amount, the customer can do the following:
  • Select "no" to using the payment calculation;
  • Enter the existing support amount in the space provided for monthly payment amount; and
  • Enter your reason for using an amount different from the state calculation.
Note that the information entered here, including the reason for the deviation, will be transferred to the applicable documents exactly as it is entered by the customer.
How is child support calculated in New York? 1572
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing the online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet for New York is automatically created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package.

# Children% Net Income

In New York, child support is for the care, maintenance and education of any unemancipated child under the age of 21.
When can child support be modified in New York? 126
Either parent can file a petition for modification of an existing child support order if the custodial or noncustodial parent's circumstances change significantly. Examples of such changes in circumstances include loss of job and change in custody of a child.
Why am I being asked about children who are over 18 years of age? 127
In New York, the duty to support a child does not end until the child reaches the age of 21, unless he or she is emancipated sooner.

Additional information on emancipation is available here.
Additional Child Support Information for New York City Filers 137
Additional information on child support for customers filing for divorce in New York City is available at here.
What if we have a child who is under 21, but he or she is emancipated? 3825
If you live in New York and the only children of the marriage are either over 21 or are emancipated adults under the age of 21, the customer may select a no children divorce. However, the Complaint, Affidavit of Plaintiff, Affidavit of Defendant, Findings of Fact and Judgment all state the there are no children of the marriage under the age of 21 and each document will need to be self-customized by the customer to reflect that while there are children under the age of 21, there are no unemancipated children under the age of 21.
Do I need to file the child support documents I received if we already have a prior child support order? 3835
If a court has already issued a child support order, that information should be reflected in several documents, namely the Complaint, Marital Settlement Agreement, Findings of Fact and Judgment of Divorce. You will need to attach a copy of the prior child support order to your Complaint, Marital Settlement Agreement and Judgment of Divorce. You will also need to fill in the date that the judge signed the prior order in the spaces provided on the Marital Settlement Agreement, Findings of Fact and Judgment.

Your document package also includes a Child Support Worksheet, Annual Income Worksheet, an Income Withholding Order, a Child Support Collection Unit Information Sheet, a NY State Case Registry Filing Form, a Child Support Summary Form, and a Qualified Medical Child Support Order. Those documents do not need to be filed unless your judge or clerk specifically requests them.

Please note that the spouse who files the original child support action is designated as the Plaintiff in that action and the other spouse as the Defendant. However, if the Defendant spouse in the child support case is the spouse that files for the divorce, he or she becomes the Plaintiff in the divorce case.
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Can we customize our documents to fit our plans for our real estate? 597
The DivorceWriter online interview allows customers to list not only the street address, c... more
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What if one spouse is living in another state or in a foreign country? 1041
The self-prepared DivorceWriter package contains instructions for choosing someone to hand... more
What if one spouse is living in a foreign country? 733
If your spouse is able to receive documents in the mail and is willing to sign and return ... more
What if one spouse is in the military? 803
If both parties are willing to sign the papers, ending your marriage when a spouse is in t... more
Instead of signing the paperwork, my spouse defaulted in our New York divorce. Is there anything I can do? 3783
DivorceWriter is designed for couples who have reached an agreement on all issues and who are both willing and able to cooperate in the divorce process, including signing the necessary documents. If your spouse is not willing to cooperate, DivorceWriter may not be an option for you.

However, if you wish to download your DivorceWriter documents in Microsoft Word and self-customize them, please note the following:
  1. Verified Complaint for Divorce. The language at the end of the document that states that "marital property to be distributed pursuant to the annexed Marital Settlement Agreement" would not ordinarily be included in a default divorce.
  2. Note of Issue. In a default divorce, "default" would be marked and "stipulation/Settlement Agreement" would not be marked.
  3. Affidavit of Defendant. Because this document requires the signature of the Defendant, it is generally not filed in a default divorce.
  4. Affidavit of Plaintiff. The language referencing the Marital Settlement Agreement in paragraph 6a is not usually included if the Defendant defaults. Additionally, either 6(b)(B) or 6(b)(D) would be checked instead of 6b(A).
  5. Marital Settlement Agreement. Since this document requires the signature of the Defendant, it is not filed in a default divorce.
  6. Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law. Language in this document that states that the Defendant appeared and waived his/her right to answer would not be included if the Defendant defaults. Likewise, language that requests equitable distribution pursuant to the Marital Settlement Agreement would instead indicate that the parties' assets and debts shall be divided equitably. Finally, because the language concerning 255(1) and (2) also references the Marital Settlement Agreement, in cases of default this language would be modified to indicate that Defendant was served with a copy of the Notice Concerning Continuation of Health Care Coverage as required by 255(1) and (2).
  7. Judgment of Divorce. In cases where the Defendant defaults, language that the Defendant has appeared, executed an Affidavit of Defendant and waived his/her right to answer would not be included. Likewise, there are two other paragraphs in the document that reference a Marital Settlement Agreement, which would not be included in the Defendant defaults.

DivorceWriter is not a law firm and because we are not attorneys, the laws governing self-help legal products prohibit us from providing legal advice or from assisting you in self-customizing your documents. If you have any questions, please contact an attorney licensed to practice law in your state.
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