How Does a Spouse Begin a Divorce Proceeding in New York?
To begin the divorce process, you must submit the necessary forms with the local County Clerk’s office. For an uncontested divorce, these forms can be found in the Uncontested Divorce Packet. For a contested divorce, the spouse must file a Summons and Verified Complaint or a Summons with Notice.
How to File for Divorce in New York
You must file the following with your County Clerk’s office:
- Notice of Automatic Orders
- Summons with Notice or Summons and Complaint
- Notice Concerning Continuation of Healthcare Coverage
- If you have a settlement agreement, make a copy
Your index number will be on all of your forms. The fee for an index number is $210.
Next, you must “serve” your spouse with notification of the divorce filing. Your spouse can “contest” the divorce, which means that they does not agree to the filing. If your spouse does not contest the divorce, it is added to the court calendar. If he or she does contest the divorce, your lawyer can help you work with the court to begin the divorce process. If he or she does not respond, he or she has “defaulted” and your case is added to the court calendar.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce
No, you do not need to have a lawyer to file for divorce in New York. Anybody can choose to file for divorce and complete the process on their own. This is known as a “pro se” divorce. But you are advised to work with an experienced divorce lawyer for the following reasons:
- Divorce lawyers have experience representing clients as they move through the divorce process. Your lawyer can draw upon his or her experience to advise you about different steps of the process, like property division
- A divorce lawyer can help you obtain the evidence you need to support your claims, such as a claim that your spouse hid assets
- Your lawyer can determine if mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) can work for you
- Your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf.
How Long Does a Divorce Take in New York
How long it takes to complete your divorce depends on a few factors. An uncontested divorce can be finalized in only a few weeks, whereas high conflict divorces can take a year or longer to resolve. Most divorces take a few months to complete.
The number of assets you have, whether you have children, and whether you and your partner can work amicably together to settle your divorce each play a role in how long your divorce will take to reach its conclusion. When it comes to your assets, their level of complexity to divide is also important to consider. For example, if you need to value multiple investment accounts before dividing them, this will take longer than simply cutting a savings account in half. If you have a prenuptial agreement in place, the financial aspects of your divorce can be completed much more quickly.
Work with an Experienced New York Divorce Lawyer
To learn more about the divorce process in New York, schedule your consultation with divorce lawyer Theodore Alatsas Esq today.