Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility New York Divorce Laws: The Basics - Pride Legal

When filing for a divorce in New York, married couples must first establish their reasoning or motive behind the divorce using one of the Seven Legal Grounds. Legally, couples seeking a divorce must comply with state laws by adhering to at least one of the seven legal grounds for divorce. However, this is only the first step to filing for divorce in New York. Understanding the reasoning behind the Seven Legal Grounds, the difference between Marital Property and Separate Property, Equitable Distribution Laws, and more ensure that divorce hearings go as smoothly as possible. Here is everything an individual seeking a divorce in New York needs to know.

Filing for Divorce in the State of New York:

The first step to filing for divorce in New York is identifying which one of the Seven Legal Grounds serves as the motivation behind the divorce. In New York, divorcing couples must select and present valid reasoning responsible for motivating the divorce before a judge. For specific questions on eligibility for divorce, contact an attorney and review the guidelines for divorce at

The Seven Legal Grounds for divorce are as follows:

  • Separation Agreement
  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Imprisonment
  • Cruel or Inhumane Treatment
  • Judgment or Separation
  • Irretrievable Damage

Once a couple has identified which of the seven legal grounds motivate their divorce, the court expects them to prove compliance. In most cases, the actions or behavior establishing the presence of the selected legal ground must either be occurring or have occurred within the last five years. For the legal bases of imprisonment, the imprisonment must have happened within the previous five years, and the prison sentence must be a minimum of three years. Generally, each legal ground has a list of stipulations. In combination with proving the presence of one of the seven legal grounds for divorce in New York, divorcing couples must also meet the state residency requirement. Couples must prove that one or both spouses have lived in New York uninterrupted for a specific period to establish eligibility for filing a divorce. Generally, the court sets the eligibility requirement at one year.

New York Divorce Waiting Period

There is no formal, legal mandate for a waiting period in New York when filing for a divorce. Like any legal proceeding, the amount of time it will take to reach a verdict is an influencing factor for all involved parties. However, there is no specific amount of time a divorce case will take in the New York Supreme Court. The uncertainty is because divorcing couples will file one of two types of divorce, and the type of divorce filed can significantly influence the time frame. Although on average, the waiting period for a divorce case in New York is approximately 9 ½ months. The legal grounds a one uses to file a divorce may influence the time frame for the divorce.

Types of Divorce

New York recognizes two types of divorce: Contested and Uncontested. The type of divorce comes from who decides the general terms of the divorce, the couple or supreme court, and if the divorce is eligible for appeal at a later date. A Contested Divorce is when both spouses are not in agreement and subsequently rely on the New York Supreme Court to decide the case’s outcome. An Uncontested Divorce is where both spouses agree and must depend on the New York Supreme Court to finalize the divorce.

Differences between the Contested and Uncontested Divorce

The most notable procedural difference between a Contested Divorce and an Uncontested Divorce is whether one can appeal the case outcomes and to what extent. An Uncontested Divorces makes it so one cannot generally appeal its final verdict. However, if circumstances surrounding the divorce change and the divorce parties need to alter the results or agreements, divorced couples can do so with the help of an attorney. On the other hand, Contested Divorces are generally able to be appealed. However, the extent to which one may appeal a decision is subject to presiding judge’s discretion.

Divorce FAQ’s

How long after a divorce can an individual remarry in New York?

Aside from questions about the presence of a legally mandated waiting period in New York, divorcing individuals often inquire whether there is a legally required waiting period one must abide by before remarrying. The answer to this question is no. There is no law in New York mandating a waiting period between the finalization of divorce and remarriage. An individual can remarry in the state of New York immediately after the court has entered the official divorce verdict.

How are assets and property divided in a divorce in New York?

The New York Supreme Court oversees divorce cases within the state. Being the accountable body entails that the burden of dividing assets and property falls upon the New York Supreme Court. In doing so, the New York Supreme Court must abide by Equitable Distribution Laws. Equitable distribution is the legal process used to divide assets and property in the most equal and fair manner possible. Though the court may decide Equitable Distribution to be an exact 50/50 split, it is essential to note that this is not a uniform outcome. The legal process that automatically splits marital property and assets, 50/50, is known as Community Property State, a separate practice from Equitable Distribution. The New York Supreme Court can only divide marital property between spouses when dividing property and assets.

Marital Property and Separate Property

Marital property is all property obtained by the couple during the marriage, regardless of which party provided the financial means to fund the purchase. This is different from Separate Property. Separate Property, in New York law, is any and all property one purchases or obtains prior to entering a legal marriage.

According to New York Divorce Law, separate property can be any of the following:

  • Property or assets that a spouse owns or obtains prior to entering the marriage
  • Assets or property someone gave the spouse as a gift or an inheritance.
  • Any property or asset that one acquired through a personal injury claim and,
  • If applicable, property or assets a spouse outlines in a prenuptial agreement.

Overall, there is no official formula to determine equitable distribution in a divorce. No formula exists because every divorce’s circumstances are different and unique to the divorcing couple. Nonetheless, the presiding judge will consider various factors when dividing property and assets, such as income, age, health, personal wishes, and more.

Contact Pride Legal

If you or a loved one have questions or concerns regarding the divorce process in New York, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.

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