Divorce is a major life event and if it is not undertaken properly, it can cause lingering financial strain. Even though you can file a divorce action yourself, it is best to hire a skilled divorce attorney and pay minimal legal fees now compared to a lifetime of financial stress later.

Where to file.

To begin a divorce action in Queens, either spouse must buy an index number at the County Clerk’s Office and file a Summons with Notice of Summons and Verified Complaint.  The parties to the divorce are called the plaintiff and the defendant.  The plaintiff is the person who starts the divorce process.  Filing fees are approximately $400 dollars to cover the index number, note of issue and a motion fee, and can be more expensive if multiple motions are filed such as in a contested divorce action.  Representing yourself is a possibility but it is always better to have an experienced divorce lawyer to navigate any unforeseen speed bumps that come along.

Residency.

A party to a divorce action in Queens New York must meet the residency requirements to get a divorce in the State of New York which include: 1) if the couple was married in state at least one spouse has to be a resident of New York for a period of one year before filing the action; 2) both parties resided in New York as husband and wife, and either party has resided in the state for a continuous period of at least one year before filing the action; and 3) either party has been a resident of the state for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of the divorce action.

Fault or no fault.

Getting divorced got a little easier in New York State in October 2010 when “no fault” divorces became legal, holding only the requirement that either party finds the marriage to be irretrievably broken for a time period of at least six months.  Previous to that time, a person had to file for divorce based on actions of fault to include 1) cruel and inhuman treatment; 2) abandonment; 3) imprisonment for 3 consecutive years; and 4) adultery.  In New York, it is still possible to file for a fault-based divorce in these categories, and proving fault in one of these categories could be used as a bargaining tool when splitting up assets, relocation activities or requesting time with children.

Uncontested or contested.

Uncontested divorce actions may seem like a simple solution if both parties agree on everything that stemmed from the marriage such as children’s support and visitation; and the division of assets and debts.  Things can get very entangled when child support, division of marital assets, child custody and alimony matters are not agreed upon and then a contested divorce action will ensue. Paperwork is available for both the Uncontested Divorce, by picking up the papers from the Queens Supreme Court Help Center, or printing them from the court’s website, and the Contested Divorce at the Supreme Court, Civil Term, in all boroughs.

Seek legal counsel.

Even though the courts are equipped to provide the divorce packet, and information on how to get divorced in Queens, it is not always wise to make this important transition without legal counsel as things tend to get tricky if emotions are triggered, especially where children and property disputes arise.  Contact The Law Office of Charles Zolot for expert advice on how to navigate a smooth divorce action in Queens.

Law Office of Charles Zolot
37-06 82nd Street
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Phone (718) 779-6545
Fax (718) 779-6640

 

Sources:

http://ww2.nycourts.gov/divorce/forms.shtml

http://ww2.nycourts.gov/divorce/divorce_withchildrenunder21.shtml

https://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/diy/divorce.shtml

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