So you need to get a divorce. No one really wants to acknowledge that a possible outcome of a marriage is a divorce. It’s unfortunate, but once you’ve made the decision you need to know how to get started. There are a couple of preliminary qualifications and beyond that, it really depends on how many decisions need to be made and how agreeable the parties are. The process can be relatively simple or quite complex.
At Randi L. Karmel, PLLC, our Manhattan family law attorney has helped hundreds of clients through what can be one of the most emotionally painful times a person may experience.
What You Need Before You Can Divorce
Before you can file for a divorce in New York you have to meet residency requirements and cite your reason for wanting a divorce.
There are 5 possible residency situations that make you eligible to file for divorce in New York.
- Either you or your spouse has been a continuous resident for at least 2 years
- The reason for the divorce occurred in New York and both parties are residents
- The reason for the divorce occurred in New York and either party has been a continuous resident for at least 1 year
- You and your spouse resided in New York as a married couple and either party has been a continuous resident for at least 1 year
- You were married in New York and either party has been a continuous resident for at least 1 year
And there are 7 legally accepted reasons for divorcing in New York.
- The relationship has broken down irretrievably for at least 6 months
- Abandonment by one party for at least a year
- Cruel and inhuman treatment
- One party in prison for 3 or more continuous years after the marriage
- Parties lived apart for a year after a separation decree
- Parties lived apart for a year after a separation agreement
Whether or Not You Need An Attorney
Whether or not you will need a divorce lawyer will depend on whether you and your spouse are able to agree to all the major decisions without some kind of intermediary. If both parties can agree on all issues of the divorce, the divorce is considered uncontested and the parties may represent themselves. But if you and your spouse can’t agree then the divorce is considered contested and both parties will need representation in order to come to an agreement.
Even if you and your spouse are able to agree on most things, when there are minor children and financial assets that need to be divided, the assistance of an attorney who is familiar with the process can help you make sure that nothing is overlooked and that you are making the best decisions for yourself and your children.
How You Start the Process
In New York, the Supreme Court handles divorce cases. You will need to start at the County Clerk’s office in the county where either you or your spouse live. There you can get the uncontested divorce forms that you will need to complete and the instructions (all 46 pages) on how to fill out the forms and what supporting documentation you need to include for filing with the court.
If You Need An Attorney
Sometimes people start out trying to keep the process as simple as possible and so they decide to agree. Then somewhere along the way minds change and what started out as uncontested suddenly becomes contested. Or there can be issues that were not originally contemplated by the parties that require the competence of an experienced Manhattan family law lawyer to resolve.
At Randi L. Karmel, PLLC, we understand how disruptive a divorce can be in your life. Our goal is to support you through this difficult time while making sure your legal rights are protected. Contact us for a consultation to discuss your unique matrimonial or family law matters by clicking here or calling us at 212-755-0224.