How to get a divorce in New York: Forms, costs and how to start
Couple on bench under open sky

How to get a divorce in New York

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.

There are various ways to get a divorce, but not all of them need to be difficult.

By the time you or your loved one has come to the difficult decision to divorce, the last thing you want to think about is navigating a potentially complicated and expensive process. If you and your spouse can agree on the terms of the divorce, for example, you may be able to complete the process online.

Here’s what you need to know to get started in New York: the requirements, the costs and paths you can take to complete your divorce.

LegalZoom

LegalZoom provides a simple and quick way to get legal services from qualified attorneys.

  • Access a database of licensed lawyers based on your legal needs
  • Positively reviewed by customers
  • User-friendly interface
  • Wide range of legal support categories
Promoted

Can I get a divorce in New York?

To get a divorce in New York, you or your spouse must meet at least one of these residency requirements:

  • You or your spouse has lived in New York for at least two years prior to filing for divorce.
  • You or your spouse has lived in New York for at least one year prior to filing for divorce. Additionally, you were married in New York or you and your spouse have lived in New York as a married couple.
  • You or your spouse has been living in New York for at least one year prior to filing for divorce. Additionally, the legal reason for your divorce (known as the grounds for divorce) must have originated in New York.
  • Both you and your spouse are residents of New York on the day of your divorce filing. Additionally, the grounds of divorce must have originated in New York.

If you meet these requirements, you or your spouse can initiate the divorce process by filing a divorce petition.

In New York, you do not need to prove any wrongdoing on your spouse’s part to get a divorce (in other words, you can pursue a no-fault divorce). You can also initiate a fault divorce for such reasons as abandonment or adultery.

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

Whether you need to go to court depends on whether your divorce is contested or uncontested. Before you and your spouse can be divorced, you both need to reach an agreement on the divorce terms.

Contested divorce

If you do not agree on the terms, your divorce is contested. In this case, the issues you and your spouse disagree on may need to be settled by a court.

Even if you and your spouse disagree on some issues, you do not necessarily need to go to court. Here are a few alternative paths:

  • Mediation. Someone impartial helps you and your spouse come to an agreement.
  • Collaborative divorce. You and your spouse negotiate an agreement through lawyers trained in collaborative law.

You can find more information about mediation and collaborative divorce at the New York Courts website.

Uncontested divorce

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.

How much will it cost?

Initiating a divorce will cost at least $335 in court and filing fees. You may incur further costs for mailing fees, photocopies and notary services.

Additional costs for your divorce will vary depending on which route you take to resolve it. Here are approximate costs for various paths.

Doing it yourself

Preparing your divorce yourself will cost little to nothing besides additional court fees you may need to pay. However, the process takes more time, because you will need to conduct your own research and ensure you have filled out the divorce forms correctly.

Hiring lawyers

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

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.

Using online divorce services

Online divorce services typically cost around a few hundred dollars. Costs vary depending on the benefits offered. For example, some services only help you prepare the right forms; others provide tutorials, professional review of your documents and spousal-support plans.

To give you an idea of the range of costs, here are a few online divorce websites and what they charge:

  • MyDivorcePapers: $159
  • Wevorce: $749
  • CompleteCase: $299

How long will it take?

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

If you and your spouse don’t agree on the terms of the divorce, the process could take over a year. Issues that could lengthen the divorce process include:

  • Division of property
  • Custody of children
  • Child support
  • Visitation rights
  • Alimony

According to a study by Martindale Nolo Research, the average divorce takes 9.5 months to complete with divorce attorneys. Whether you have children with your spouse affects this timing: about nine months if no children and about 18 months if children are involved.

If you and your spouse agree on most issues, the details of your divorce could be settled relatively quickly. For example, an online service for uncontested divorces can help a couple come to a resolution in as little as a month.

How do I prepare for filing online?

Online divorce services are for couples who can work together on divorce terms and who agree on most issues. To use one, you need to:

  • Know where your spouse is.
  • Agree with your spouse on the division of assets and property, as well as child-related matters.

Once you purchase a plan with your online divorce service, you will be given the relevant divorce forms for your county.

How to get a divorce online

Online divorce services like Wevorce and MyDivorcePapers make it easy to quickly get the divorce process rolling.

While the signup process may vary by service, in general you’ll:

  1. Go to the online divorce service website.
  2. Enter your name and contact information.
  3. Specify where you’re filing and whether you have children.
  4. Indicate your spouse’s information and whether you know their whereabouts.
  5. Enter a payment method and confirm to start the process.
Name Product Pros Cons
LegalZoom
LegalZoom
  • Access a database of licensed lawyers based on your legal needs
  • Positively reviewed by customers
  • User-friendly interface
  • Wide range of legal support categories
  • Services can get expensive
  • Free review by a document specialist
LegalZoom provides a simple and quick way to get legal services from qualified attorneys.
LegalShield Legal Plans
LegalShield Legal Plans
  • Coverage for you, your spouse/partner and dependent children
  • Advice on unlimited personal
  • Letters/phone calls on your behalf
  • Legal document review
  • Add ons can get expensive
LegalShield aims to make comprehensive legal coverage simple.
Rocket Lawyer
Rocket Lawyer
  • Instant access to a library of user friendly legal documents
  • Fast access to a network of certified lawyers
  • Free 30-minute consultations
  • Reduced rates in select services
  • Services can get expensive
Rocket Lawyer gives you access to legal documents, legal advice and representation seamlessly.

Compare up to 4 providers

Getting a divorce online — now what?

If you’ve signed up for an online divorce service, you will be presented with the divorce forms you need to complete. You will also be given instructions on how to file the documents with your local court.

Rest assured that your online divorce service will guide you from the beginning to the end of the process, when you can move on to healing.

Frequently asked questions

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.

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?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AshDecember 10, 2018Staff

      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

Go to site