New York Divorce Laws

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 What Do I Need To Know About Obtaining a Divorce in New York?

Certain requirements need to be satisfied for you to obtain a divorce. Like other states, New York has residency and grounds requirements for obtaining a divorce. Generally, the issues decided in a divorce include marital property, child custody, child visitation, and spousal support. Depending on your case, these issues may or may not apply to your situation.

Additionally, the cases can be brought to your local county in the New York Supreme Court. It is important to note this distinction that, unlike other states, all divorces in New York State are managed in the county Supreme Courts. Family Court cannot grant a divorce.

What are the 7 Grounds for Divorce in New York?

There are seven legally valid reasons for a divorce to happen. First is an irretrievable breakdown, meaning that no efforts to repair the marriage can save the marriage now. But it is important to note that the courts cannot grant you a divorce until after the parties agree on property, child custody, alimony, and child support.

Second is cruel treatment, meaning that your physical and mental health will worsen if you continue to reside together in the same household. However, there is a time limit; if the most recent abusive treatment occurred more than 5 years ago, you could not divorce using this reason if your spouse objects.

The third is abandonment, which means your spouse left you for at least a year and did not want to return. Fourth is imprisonment, when your spouse has been incarcerated for three or more years. But, if your spouse was released more than 5 years ago, you may not use this reason for obtaining a divorce if your spouse goes to jail for three or more years.

Fifth is adultery, when your spouse cheats on you with another person. There are some more nuisances to this rule, including the presence of witnesses to testify. Furthermore, there is also a time limit on them.

Sixth is the Judgment of Separation, which means that you and your spouse have not resided together due to a “Decree of Separation” or “Judgment of Separation” granted by the Court for at least one year. Once this decree is revealed, there must be strict adherence to it. This is not as common as the other grounds mentioned earlier.

Lastly is the Separation Agreement, meaning you and your spouse have not lived together. There is a written “Agreement of Separation” for at least one year. Both you and your spouse signed this agreement before a notary, and the agreement must abide by the local regulations in the state. You must adhere to all the terms and conditions stated in the Separation Agreement.

What are the “Residency Requirements,” for my Divorce?

Residency requirements allow a New York court to decide your divorce case. Residency is required in New York. For instance, you must have lived in New York for at least one year before obtaining a divorce. One of the parties applying for divorce must be a New York resident to file a case in the state.

Why May My Spouse Argue Against My Reason for Divorce?

Your spouse may resist the divorce or argue against you for several reasons. It may be due to their emotional attachment towards you, and they do not want to separate from you. Another reason is that they are financially dependent on you and need support.

However, you may apply for spousal support after or during the divorce to ensure you are financially secure. Furthermore, it could be because of securing retirement funds or having access to health care coverage. Whatever the reason, options are still available if your spouse is resisting the divorce.

Can I Receive Spousal Support?

After a couple separates, a court can temporarily award spousal support while the divorce case is ongoing. Once the divorce is finalized, the court will consider various factors and grant you the necessary maintenance. Most states follow their local guidelines set by a formula. Courts utilize this formula and grant alimony awards accordingly.

For instance, the New York Courts website has an online calculator to guide you and determine the alimony amount you may be eligible for. Spousal support aims to grant the financially dependent spouse some help before they can become financially independent.

What if I Cannot Afford a Lawyer?

States now have several resources that can help an individual filing for divorce on their own. It is important to note that if you agree with all of the terms, you can file a divorce in a more simplified way. However, if there are several disagreements on the divorce terms, it will be more challenging, and seeking professional legal counsel will become necessary.

Divorce cases can also consist of custody, child support, spousal support, and marital debt. The entanglement of these issues can become complicated. Property can also become a problem in divorce cases, so there will be a fight over certain items. Couples often argue about who gets to retain which property. Judges make determinations based on the local guidelines and regulations regarding the division of marital property.

But you can obtain an attorney in the divorce if you are low-income. But depending on which state you reside in, the issues on which you can be represented may vary. Therefore, you can contact your local legal aid services if you need financial assistance with your case. Depending on your case, they can provide you with free legal assistance.

However, if you do not qualify for a free, court-appointed lawyer or require a lawyer to manage these issues that the court-appointed lawyer cannot handle, other options may be available according to the law. Remember that the judge can order the spouse to make more money to pay the other spouse’s attorney’s fees. Furthermore, they can order other necessary payments for the divorce case.

Attorneys are especially needed through contested divorces because there will be a series of hearings for the issues that must be resolved. You may represent yourself in court if you cannot emotionally or mentally deal with the spouse in the same room. Then, you may need additional assistance to help you sort out your problems. A lawyer can provide the legal services, representation, and research needed to resolve the issues.

When Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer?

If you live in New York and need assistance with a divorce case, it is recommended that you reach out to a local New York divorce attorney in your area. Local lawyers will have knowledge of the specific regional laws that will apply to your particular issue.

Divorce cases may have unique and complex several issues attached to them. Therefore, working through those issues and ensuring that your rights are protected is important.

A legal professional can guide you through the process and keep you updated regarding the case. There are other requirements for obtaining a divorce in New York relating to grounds and residency; make sure you know these before you file for a divorce case. If you still have questions, contact a lawyer to determine what your next steps are for your claim.

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