Although the New York City metro area has a lower divorce rate than many other comparable large sections of the country, divorces are still a fairly common legal procedure. New York has some unique rules that must be followed in order for a couple to obtain a valid divorce and separate.
The state has provided some information regarding commonly asked questions about getting a divorce within the jurisdiction.
The divorce procedure
The Supreme Court in each county handles the filing of divorce petitions. This is different from most other states where family courts handle issues such as alimony and child support as well as divorces proceedings. A Supreme Court judge is the only person in the state who has the authority to grant and finalize a divorce. The divorce does not become official until one of these judges signs off on a final order that closes the case.
The paperwork to file a divorce requires an index number and a process server to bring notice of the divorce to the defendant spouse. Most of this administrative work can be handled by your family law attorney. In fact, it is recommended that a lawyer and their staff guide you through this process, as mistakes can end up wasting time and costing more money later. The state also advises parties to the divorce to each consult with their own attorneys, even during an uncontested divorce where both spouses agree on all major issues.
Some differences within the state and how to proceed
New York also offers annulments to invalidate a marriage for a few specific grounds such as mental incapacity, impotence, or the fact that one spouse already had entered into a valid marriage that was never dissolved. Annulments are rare, but they can be used to show that a marriage could not have legally existed due to these specific problems.
Residency requirements are also more strict in New York than many other states, as at least one spouse must demonstrate over a year of constant residency within the state. In some situations, it may be beneficial to get divorced in the previous state of residence to expedite the process rather than waiting for up to a year.
Divorce has only recently been extended to no fault situations in New York within the past several years, which means that process can be slower than in other jurisdictions. One of the most common grounds to get a divorce is to state that the marriage has been broken for at least six months. This is analogous to a typical no fault proceeding in other states, but they generally do not have this six month requirement. Almost everywhere else in the United States, one or both spouses can simply begin the process for a no fault divorce without a duration requirement.
Talk to a local family law attorney about a divorce
For help getting a divorce in Queens or nearby parts of the New York City area, contact The Law Office of Charles Zolot. Mr. Zolot has been handling family law matters successfully for over two decades.