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How to get a divorce in New York

You'll have to choose between 7 different grounds — including fault and no-fault options.

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The emotional toll of going through a divorce can be overwhelming enough, let alone figuring out the legal and financial logistics of it all. From the residency requirements and New York State grounds for filing for divorce to the costs and steps involved, we’re here to un-complicate the process so you can focus on what matters most: healing and moving on.

Requirements to get divorced in New York State

To get a divorce in New York, you or your spouse must meet one of the following residency requirements:

  • Lived in New York 2+ years prior to filing
  • Lived in New York for 1+ year prior to filing and either got married in NY, lived in NY as a married couple or the grounds for your divorce originated in NY
  • Both residents of New York on the day of your divorce filing and the grounds for your divorce originated in NY

Once you meet one of these requirements, you can begin the process of filing a divorce petition with New York State. You can also divorce online to get the process moving faster.

What are the grounds for divorce in New York?

New York State allows for both no-fault and fault divorce, with seven different legally acceptable reasons for filing:

  • Irretrievable breakdown in relationship for at least six months. This is typically known as a no-fault divorce. To use this ground, you need to have already settled any economic issues — like outstanding debts — as well as division of property, custody and child support, and alimony.
  • Abandonment. Your spouse must have abandoned you for at least one year to use this ground. Examples of abandonment include your spouse physically leaving your home without any plans to return or your spouse refusing to have sex with you — called constructive abandonment.
  • Adultery. To use this ground, you need to show evidence from someone other than you or your spouse that they committed adultery during the marriage.
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment. You need to detail specific acts of cruelty that happened within the last five years of your marriage to use this ground. The judge will be looking for examples of physical or mental abuse that makes it unsafe for you to continue living with your spouse.
  • Imprisonment. To use this ground, your spouse must have been in prison for at least three consecutive years since you got married. You can use this ground up to five years after your spouse was released from prison.
  • Divorce after a legal separation agreement. This ground can be used after you and your spouse filed a valid separation agreement and have been living apart for at least one year.
  • Divorce after a judgment of separation. This ground isn’t used often, and entails the Supreme Court drawing up a judgment of separation and you and your spouse living apart for at least one year after it’s filed.

Quick facts about divorce in New York State

  • Equitable distribution state
  • Divorce filings are public record
  • No mandatory waiting or cooling-off period to get a divorce

Average cost of divorce in New York

The minimum cost of a divorce in New York is $335 for court and filing fees. However, that doesn’t include mailing fees, photocopies and notary services.

You’ll likely be on the hook for further costs, though these will vary depending on whether you decide to hire a lawyer, do it yourself or use an online service for help.

Using online divorce services

Online divorce services can cost anywhere from $150 to over $5,000 depending on which company you go with, how complex your case is and the amount of legal assistance you need.

Expect to pay more for professional review of your documents, help drafting spousal support or child custody agreements, and consultations with a private judge or divorce lawyer.

How does an online divorce work?

Hiring lawyers

The average cost for a divorce in New York is $17,100 when hiring divorce attorneys, according to a study by Martindale Nolo Research.

If your divorce is relatively simple, the cost will be around a few thousand dollars at a minimum. For complicated divorces (for example, those involving child custody), the cost could be as high as $37,000.

Typically, lawyers will bill you hourly — $325 per hour on average. If you choose to hire divorce lawyers, consider negotiating a flat fee for your divorce.

Doing it yourself

While a DIY divorce can cost you less than $500 in New York, you’ll pay for it when it comes to the time commitment and work involved on your end.

Standard costs involved for a DIY divorce in New York State include:

  • Index Number Fee: $210
  • Request for Judicial Intervention: $95
  • Note of Issue papers: $30
  • Additional motions filed: $45 each
  • Stipulation of Settlement: $35 (not always required)
  • Serving divorce pages: $100 to $200

How long does it take to get a divorce in New York?

The average divorce in New York takes 9.5 months to complete with divorce attorneys, according to a study by Martindale Nolo Research. Whether you have children with your spouse affects this timing: It takes about nine months if you don’t have children and about 18 months if children are involved.

Like with anything else, how long it takes you specifically comes down to the complexity of your case and how agreeable you and your spouse are during the proceedings.

If you agree on most issues and use an online service, your divorce could be finalized in as little as a month. But if there are lots of disagreements over terms like division of property or child custody, the process could drag on over a year.

No-fault divorce

If you pursue a no-fault divorce, you need to sign a settlement agreement and wait at least one year before you can file for divorce.

Fault divorce

If you pursue a fault divorce and your spouse does not contest the grounds for fault, you’re not required to wait a year. There is no mandatory waiting period to get a divorce in New York.

Can I get a divorce in New York without going to court?

Yes, it’s possible to get a divorce in New York State without going to court — no matter if your divorce is contested or uncontested.

In a contested divorce, you can avoid going to court by hiring an arbitrator or mediator to help you and your spouse come to an agreement on the terms of your divorce. Another option is to go through a collaborative divorce, in which you both hire lawyers to help you negotiate an agreement.

Already come to an agreement on the terms of your divorce? Then you’re going through an uncontested divorce, and it’s not necessary to appear in court to hash things out.

There are various ways to complete an uncontested divorce, including a DIY approach where you handle everything yourself, using an online service like OnlineDivorce.com to guide you through the process or hiring lawyers to do the work for you.

Compare online divorce services

Online divorce services are best for couples who can agree on the terms of the divorce, including division of assets, alimony and parental responsibilities if you have children.

Name Product Cost Includes filing papers with court? File without spouse Divorce papers reviewed?
3StepDivorce
$299 - $336
No - you must file and pay court fees
Yes
Yes
File within one business day of your start date with 3StepDivorce and qualify for a $50 cash rebate. Payment plans available.
LegalZoom online divorce
$150 – $1,500
No - you must file and pay court fees
Yes
Yes
File for an uncontested divorce online or find legal resources to help guide you through the divorce process.
OnlineDivorce.com
$139
No - you must file and pay court fees
Yes
Yes
Ready-to-file divorce forms for one flat fee. Step-by-step directions to help simplify uncontested divorces.
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Compare up to 4 providers

How to get a divorce online

While the process will vary slightly depending on the company you use, you’ll typically start by filling out a questionnaire about where you and your spouse live, the grounds for your divorce, whether you have children and if it’s contested or uncontested to see if you qualify to use its service.

If you’re eligible to get divorced online, it will walk you through the process — which will typically involve filling out the appropriate forms, getting them signed and notarized, and filing them with your local court. It should also spell out exactly how much the service will cost you so you won’t be hit with any surprises down the road.

Online divorces: Everything you need to know

Bottom line

Going through a divorce can be scary and overwhelming — but there are people and services out there to help. The first step is making sure you and your spouse meet the residency requirements to file in New York State. From there, it’s all about finding the most affordable option available for your unique situation. You can learn more with our step-by-step guide to filing for divorce.

Frequently asked questions

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12 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    BarbaraApril 29, 2019

    I need a divorce. My husband verbally abuse me, keeps me locked inside the house, takes all money and sends to India and lies about everything. I have no money to file. He works, I have nothing since he moved us. What do I do?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaiApril 30, 2019Staff

      Hi Barbara,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      I’m sorry to hear about your current situation with your husband. It must be difficult for you these days.

      The page that you accessed will guide you on how you can file a divorce in New York. As there are fees involved for divorce application, you may want to seek legal consultation from your local government and see how can they help you on your circumstance. Maybe try to go to authority and report the abuse and you may find some recommendation and assistance from there.

      Hope that you find this helpful. Take care.

      Kind Regards,
      Mai

  2. Default Gravatar
    AApril 14, 2019

    Me and my wife both want to get divorced the easiest way possible, we are still friends and get along very well. We are just no longer interested in being with each other. what would be the easiest and simplest way to go about it?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanesApril 15, 2019Staff

      Hi A,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      If you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce (meaning you have an uncontested divorce), you do not have to appear in court. It is possible to complete your divorce by drafting an agreement and filling out the appropriate forms, then sending them to the court.

      There are various ways to complete an uncontested divorce, including:

      Doing it yourself. Handling the divorce process yourself can be complicated, but it is possible. Learn more about the process at the New York Courts website.
      Using an online divorce service. Online services like Wevorce and MyDivorcePapers offer self-guided divorce preparation. They can cost more than preparing your divorce entirely on your own, but they streamline the process by giving you structure and guidance.
      Hiring lawyers. Family law lawyers can prepare your divorce and provide personalized guidance throughout the process. As we’ll discuss in the next section, this will likely be your most expensive option.

      Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  3. Default Gravatar
    P.J.February 19, 2019

    Is my spouse entitled to my VA disability benefits?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezFebruary 20, 2019Staff

      Hi PJ,

      Thank you for your comment.

      If you’re inquiring about your wife being entitled on your VA disability benefits after a divorce, according to Federal law specifically, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act, found at 10 U.S.C. §1408 exempts VA disability payments from division upon divorce. It is not an asset which can be divided at divorce as marital or community property.

      I’d suggest that you please seek advice from a military legal assistance attorney or private attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can answer any questions and help you to make a fair and intelligent decision about your choices, options and alternatives.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  4. Default Gravatar
    BryantFebruary 18, 2019

    If a spouse hasn’t filed paperwork to become a citizen and wants a divorce 5 yrs later, will that be an issue with immigration?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaFebruary 19, 2019Staff

      Hi Bryant,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      I can’t provide you with a straightforward answer, Bryant since there are other factors that may affect your application for citizenship. However, it is worth noting that if a person wants to become a citizen earlier or after three years, he/she needs to be still married to the person who helped him/her to get citizenship.

      It would be a good idea to speak to a legal consultant to learn more about the implication of getting a divorce on your application of citizenship.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  5. Default Gravatar
    KimDecember 3, 2018

    If we were married in New York, but live in Texas(Texas Residents) what is the procedure for filing for a divorce?

    • Default Gravatar
      AshDecember 10, 2018

      Hi Kim,

      Thank you for reaching out to us.

      You may file a divorce in the State where you meed the Residency Requirement. There is no need for you/ spouse to go back to the State where your Marriage License was issued.

      Since you are currently residing in Texas, you may read this page as your guide in filing a divorce. One of their requirements is that you should be residing in Texas for at least 6 months.

      I hope this helps.

      Please do not hesitate to reach out again to us if you have additional questions that you may need our assistance.

      Cheers,
      Ash

  6. Default Gravatar
    andriesAugust 1, 2017

    Can a couple who got married in New York but who have not lived there since, divorce online. The man has USA citizenship and the woman Irish.

    • Default Gravatar
      DanielleAugust 1, 2017

      Hi Andries,

      Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

      While specific requirements of your divorce will depend on the state you live in, if you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce — meaning you agree to an uncontested divorce — you should not have to appear in court. You may refer to this page for more information.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Danielle

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