Learn about the Types and Processes required to file for divorce in New York. 

Even if you think your divorce will probably be”uncontested,” which means your spouse will consent to the divorce, there are lots of problems beyond just ending the union you need to consider. Consulting with or keeping a lawyer is almost always a wise thing to do. A lawyer can ensure that your legal rights remain protected and also can help you with any problems that might come up during the process. 

If you and your partner agree about getting a divorce, however, want some help working out financial or child custody problems, you might want to contemplate mediation or collaboration.  Occasionally these procedures can make divorce faster, less stressful, and also keep you out of court in comparison with hiring traditional divorce attorneys.  

Paper Preparation and Filing

Obtaining a divorce in New York is quite complex and involves filling out and filing several court forms, even when your divorce is uncontested.  Each of the forms you need for an uncontested divorce are on the New York Courts site from the Uncontested Divorce Packet, which also contains directions.

The initial form you need to fill out is “Summons With Notice (Type UD-1)” or the”Summons (Type UD-1a)” and”Verified Complaint (Type UD-2).” The Summons and Complaint start your divorce actions and titles you a “plaintiff” and your partner as”defendant”.

The choice between the Summons With Notice along with a Summons and Verified Complaint is only a matter of detail.  Both kinds will ask that you present extensive information, such as the”grounds” or rationale why you are looking for a divorce in addition to the “relief” you are searching for, such as child custody, child support, split of the property, along with spousal care  (also called alimony).  But should you record the Summons and Verified Complaint, then you need to include more info about you, your partner, and your kids.  Check N.Y. Dom. Rel. Laws § 170 (2019).

As soon as you select and complete the forms, you’ll have to create two extra copies.  Then bring your completed forms to the county clerk’s office to document them.  You are able to file from the county in which you or your partner live.

The clerk’s office will assign your claim an “Index Number” to add in your own forms, together with the date. If you can not pay the fee, then tell the clerk that you wish to complete the”Poor Person’s Waiver” forms.

Serving Your Forms

 If your partner resides in New York, anybody but you who’s a resident of New York State, not a partisan to the divorce, and who’s over 18 years old can serve your partner.

Service needs to be “private,” so handing the documents to your partner.  Your partner could be served every day of the week except for Sundays.  If your spouse lives in another country, you need to adhere to the principles for the service of his or her state.

In case you have children, you have to also serve a copy of the Child Service Standards Chart together with the Summons.

It’s also wise to incorporate the “Affidavit of Defendant (Type UD-7)” and directions about the best way to fill them.  This is a form for your partner to fill out, sign, and ship back to you when your partner agrees to the divorce.

Your Spouse’s Response

If your partner agrees to the divorce, then they have to sign and send back the affidavit of the defendant type within 40 days (as of 2019).  If your partner will not finish and return the affidavit, then those who handed your partner with the summons should prepare an”Affidavit of Service (Form UD-3),” which demonstrates your spouse obtained copies of this paperwork.

In case your partner does not return the affidavit and you’re married in a religious ceremony, then you have to complete the”Sworn Statement of Removal of Barriers to Remarriage (Type UD-4) and also have somebody but you, within age 18, send a copy for your spouse by mail.

If your spouse files a”Notice of Appearance” and complies with any of your divorce documents, then your divorce is no more uncontested, and you need to consult a lawyer.

Placing Your Case on the Divorce Calendar

If your partner signed the affidavit of the defendant, then it is possible to set your suit on the court calendar at any given moment.  If your partner didn’t sign the form, then you’ve got to wait the designated time period after serving your partner with the records. The New York Courts site has special directions for filling out each of the following forms. All of them should be performed before your case can be placed on the court calendar:

  • Summons with Notice or Summons and Complaint
  • Affirmation of Regularity (Form UD-5, which requests that your case be put on the calendar)
  • Affidavit of Plaintiff (Form UD-6)
  • three copies of the Note of Issue (Form UD-9)
  • Findings of Fact/Conclusions of Law (Form UD-10)
  • The judgment of Divorce (Form UD-11)
  • Part 130 Certification (Form UD-12)
  • Affidavit of Defendant (Form UD-7, if your spouse signed and returned it to you)
  • Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage
  • USC 111 – Divorce and Child Support Summary Form.

If your spouse did not sign and return the affidavit of the defendant, then you must also file:

  • Affidavit of Service (Form UD-3), and
  • Sworn Statement of Barriers to Remarriage (Form UD-4).

In the event that you have children, then you also need to submit the forms associated with child support (Types UD-8, UD-8a, and UD-8b).

If you are submitting not in one of the five New York City Boroughs, then you have to also file the”Request for Judicial Intervention (Type UD-13).”

Bring all your completed forms to the county clerk’s office to document them.  Unless you’re allowed a waiver according to earnings, you might need to pay filing fees.  The clerk will presentall your documents to the judge.  

Financial Disclosures and Other Issues

To be able to prevent a trial and have a really uncontested divorce, you and your partner will have to agree to a settlement to all problems, such as division of property, maintenance (also called alimony), and child custody and support.  Any or all these issues could be handled through mediation or an agreement between the two partners.

All arrangements are subject to the judge’s evaluation.  Therefore, although neither you nor your partner must submit a financial disclosure statement to get a divorce, the judge will still be certain child support is sufficient and division of land is fair before issuing a verdict.

 You can each fill out the disclosures and swap them so as to come into a fully-informed arrangement the judge approve. 

The Family Court may issue orders pertaining to child custody and support which may subsequently be integrated, or contained, on your final judgment of divorce.

Even if you have previous court orders or a prior arrangement between you and your partner, the court could nonetheless designate a hearing on maintenance, custody, alimony ect.  When a hearing is needed, the court will inform you and your partner to appear.