Divorce in NY – New York Divorce Laws, Attorneys & Family Lawyers


Divorce and legal separation in NY is not uncommon. In New York City, divorce rate is estimated to be 3.0% per 1,000 of the total population. New York State has both no-fault and fault grounds for divorce. If you are seeking a fault divorce, you will be required to show the court with existing fault upon which divorce is to be given or obtained. There is no formal waiting period for a decree of divorce in New York however you or your partner must have lived in the state for at least 1 year.

In New York divorce is preferred over annulment. There are various reasons for which annulment is not the option. Basically annulment requires a high degree of evidence and verification and sometimes other witnesses are also asked to provide confirmative evidence in order to prove it right. Making it a complex process, which divorce is not. Therefore people usually opt for divorce.

Although you can represent yourself in the proceeding of divorce, but the laws are so difficult and complex that you may miss out any step. Therefore it is advised to take a professional and reliable lawyer who can help you towards the legal ending of your dissolution process.

DIY divorce online
Table of Contents show page contents

Legal Separation in NY

In New York, spouses can enter a legal separation (also known as “separation from bed and board”) instead of divorce. Often this precedes divorce or takes place while the couple consider other matters and benefits to remaining legally married. Reasons for choosing legal separation over divorce vary but are often related to finance (including protection for any future debts your spouse may accumulate – often used when one partner is a gambler) and tax benefits, medical, insurance, children and religion. When you enter a legal separation in NY you will enter into a legally binding separation agreement contract. This is very similar to divorce agreement, setting out the terms such as duties, monetary issues, rights, child custody etc.

Resident requirements and costs of legal separation in New York

If both parties are New York residents at the time of legal separation and the grounds for that separation arose in New York, there is no residency requirement. Otherwise, assuming you were both residents of New York at some point and one of you still is, the requirement is to have been a resident for at least one year prior to filing for legal separation. Grounds for legal separation in New York are similar to that of divorce and your agreement cannot be backdated.

The cost of filing a legal separation in NY can be as low as $5 (where obtaining an index number is not required) as no court involvement is required. The fees in New York City are similar to that of an uncontested divorce. Certified copies of the agreements cost $8 and it is highly recommended that you obtain one. Most of any expenditure will go on a legal advisor and drawing up your separation agreement. This can of course be done by yourselves, however it is worth consulting with an advisor if you have any concerns.

NY Divorce Grounds

According to the Divorce laws of New York State, there isn’t any no-fault divorce ground in the state. But there is one sole version of no-fault divorce ground in New York, which is:

Irretrievable Breakdown of the Relationship:

This no-fault divorce ground in New York requires that the spouses live apart from one another for at least a year before a case is filed. The spouses must execute a Separation Agreement, which should be filed before the one-year period begins to run. The spouses have to prove that they have substantially performed the terms of the Separation Agreement to obtain a divorce. If divorce is obtained on the basis of a written Separation Agreement, there is no need of signing any papers or provide any testimony about grounds for divorce.

Fault Divorce Grounds in New York

Fault divorce grounds in New York are:

Cruel and Inhuman Treatment:

Cruel and inhuman treatment means a behavior that has caused physical or mental injury to the plaintiff. And due to this conduct it is unsafe or improper for the plaintiff to cohabit with the defendant in the future. Divorce will be granted on this fault divorce ground in New York.

Abandonment for One or more Years:

Abandonment is a serious fault divorce ground in New York. Actual abandonment occurs only in case if one of the spouses leaves home without consent of the other spouse. Another form of abandonment is constructive abandonment, which is the unjustified refusal to engage in sexual relations with the other spouse. If both spouses consent not to engage in sexual relations, there is no constructive abandonment by either spouse. At the time of the petition for divorce, the abandonment must be of one full year.

Imprisonment for at least Three Years:

At the time that a spouse commences a divorce action on this divorce ground in New York, the defendant must have been confined in prison for three consecutive years. The cause of divorce does not arise until three years of confinement has elapsed.

DIY divorce online


The commission of adultery voluntarily performed by the defendant, with a person other than the plaintiff after the marriage of plaintiff and defendant is a fault divorce ground in New York. Deviate sexual intercourse includes, but is not limited to, sexual conduct.

Living Separate and Apart for at least One Year:

Under this divorce ground in New York, the husband and wife must have lived apart for a period of one or more years before filing a divorce petition. Petitioner must also submit satisfactory proof that he or she has substantially performed all the terms and conditions of such judgment. After this the divorce will be granted on this divorce ground in New York.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for detailed information regarding divorce grounds in New York.

New York Divorce Laws

New York has following divorce laws:


According to New York divorce laws, in order to qualify for filing divorce petition, there are certain conditions that the parties should fulfill, which are:

  • Firstly they should have been married in New York state
  • Either party is a resident thereof when the action commenced, they should have been a resident for a continuous period of one year
  • The cause of divorce should have been occurred in New York State when either or both partners were in the state.

Documents required for Filing Divorce

Under New York divorce laws, these are the two main documents required when filing for divorce:

  • Complaint for Divorce
  • Decree of Divorce

Other than these, you may require other documents like:

  • Summons (UD-1)
  • Marital Settlement Agreement
  • Sworn Statement of Removal of Barriers to Remarriage (UD-4)
  • Affidavit for Defendant in Divorce Action (UD-7)
  • Qualified Medical Support Order (UD-8b)
  • Findings of Fact/Conclusions of Law (UD-10).

Distribution of Property

As per New York divorce laws, the distribution of the property is based on the equitable basis.

Change of name or restoration of name

New York divorce laws have maintained no statuary provisions for the change in name or restoration of name.

Mediation counseling

New York divorce court provides both the parties mediation time to decide whether they want dissolution of marriage or not.


According to New York divorce laws, court provides spousal support on permanent or temporary bases. Such direction may require the payment of a sum or sums of money either directly to either spouse or to third persons for real and personal property and services furnished to either spouse.

Child custody

Every action is taken by the New York divorce court to protect the child from emotional trauma resulting from his or her parents’ divorce. If the parents are unable to reach a decision and proper agreement than the divorce court takes it own decision on this issue.

Child support

Like many other state laws, even in New York child support is calculated according to the Income Shares Model and requires social security number of each parent in order to provide child support.

Contact a professional divorce attorney or divorce lawyer for comprehensive divorce laws information of your state.

New York Annulment Laws

Annulment is a legal process of terminating an illegal marriage. Different states have different policies regarding annulment and divorce. One of the major differences between annulment and divorce is that divorce grounds are relatively easy to prove. To get an annulment you have to file a case for New York annulment on the basis of the following grounds set by New York annulment laws:

Physical Disability

If your spouse has some kind of incurable physical disability that is directly or indirectly affecting your sexual life, you can obtain annulment under New York annulment laws.

Underage Marriage

According to New York annulment laws, both the spouses should be 18 years old before they get married and any younger than this cant legally marry. However such a marriage can be annulled if either of the parties wants to bail out.


If your spouse is suffering from insanity for the past 5 years and it is incurable, you can obtain annulment under New York annulment laws.


A forced marriage is not recognized by the marriage laws of New York. You can file for annulment under New York annulment laws if you have been forced into a marriage.


If your consent for the marriage has been obtained by fraud or misrepresentation, you can get New York annulment.

New York Divorce Laws-Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long am I to reside in New York to claim a divorce?

    If you want to claim a divorce in New York, then you must be living in New York for at least one year according to the New York divorce laws.

  2. My spouse is living in another state. Can I still file a divorce in New York?

    New York divorce laws state, there is no restriction that both the spouses must be residents of New York, but it is essential for at least one of the spouses to meet the residency requirements of New York state.

  3. My spouse and I want to hire the same divorce lawyer, can we?

    New York divorce laws forbid hiring of the same divorce lawyer since one divorce lawyer can not represent two opposing parties.

  4. Can I represent myself in the court in place of a divorce lawyer?

    Yes you can represent yourself in a divorce court. There is no New York divorce law which disallows such a move. But hiring of a professional divorce lawyer is highly recommended.

  5. How long me and my spouse have to live separately before we file a divorce in New York?

    For filing a New York divorce, New York divorce laws require you to be living separate and apart for a minimum period of one year.

  6. What is the difference between contested divorce and an uncontested divorce?

    An uncontested divorce is one in which both the spouses agree upon all the divorce related issues. Whereas in case of contested divorce husband and wife do not agree upon one or more issues. Contested divorces are generally much more complex and costly than uncontested.

  7. Is New York a no-fault divorce state?

    Yes, New York is a no-fault state.

  8. What is meant by legal separation?

    A separation which is declared by the court is known as legal separation. Both spouses live separately though they are still man and wife.

  9. How much a New York divorce lawyer charges?

    New York divorce lawyers charge their fees on e per hour basis, while some divorce lawyers may charge on case basis.

  10. How much is a divorce in NY?

    The filing fees for an uncontested divorce are $335 (this includes the $210 fee for obtaining an index number). If you are granted a “Poor Person” waiver by the Court, you will not have to pay anything to file your papers. A simple uncontested divorce using an attorney in New York will cost around $1,000. Contested divorces and complex cases are much more expensive as the cost for a divorce attorney in NY can be expensive at around $400 per hour (there are large variations in rates).

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This