A spouse must be a resident for at least one year before filing for divorce in New York. It does not matter if the spouse living in New York is the petitioner or one who is being served with divorce papers.

Do I Need to Give a Reason for Filing for Divorce?

No. A spouse can file for divorce based on fault or no-fault. Fault means placing blame for the marriage ending on the other spouse. New York does permit a spouse to base the divorce action on being separated for at least one year.

How Does the Divorce Process Start in New York?

The process starts with completing divorce forms, including:

  • Form UD-1 Summons with Notice/ Form UD-1a Summons
  • Form UD-2 Verified Complaint 

After the forms are completed, two copies of the completed forms are submitted to the county clerk’s office to be filed. They must be filed in the county where at least one spouse resides.

Once the forms are submitted to the county clerk, the clerk assigns an Index number and filing date, and the petitioning spouse pays an Index number fee. If they are unable to afford the fee, they can complete a Poor Person’s Waiver form to have the fee waived.

Do I Need to Serve My Spouse with Divorce Papers?

Yes, a spouse has 120 days after the filing date to serve the divorce papers to the other spouse. These papers must to be hand-delivered. Also, a spouse cannot be served on Sunday.

How Long Does My Spouse Have to Respond to the Petition?

A defendant in a divorce has 40 days to sign and return the affidavit of defendant form. The spouse can also file a Notice of Appearance form if they wish to contest the petition. If the spouse refuses to return the affidavit, an Affidavit of Service needs to be submitted to the court to show proof serving process.

Should I Talk to an Attorney Before Proceeding with My Divorce?

Getting a divorce is a stressful process. Regardless of whether a divorce is contested or uncontested, there are many issues to consider when getting a divorce. Retaining a New York attorney will help you protect all legal rights regarding your divorce.