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How Long Does a Divorce Take in New York?

Posted on March 30, 2022

Getting a divorce is stressful, and no one wants a divorce to take longer than necessary. However, several factors determine the time the divorce process takes in New York.

Before moving forward with your divorce filing, take a moment to ensure you qualify to file your divorce proceeding in New York. Then read on to discover common reasons that divorces are delayed in the family court system.

New York’s Residency Requirements for a Divorce

New York has specific residency requirements spouses must meet to qualify for a divorce. To obtain a New York divorce, one of the following must apply:

  • The spouses were married in New York, and one spouse has lived in the state for at least one year;
  • The spouses lived in New York as a married couple, and either spouse has lived in the state for at least one year;
  • The grounds for divorce arose in New York, and one spouse has lived in the state for at least one year at the time of filing for divorce;
  • The cause of action occurred in New York and both parties are residents of the state at the time of the filing for divorce; or
  • One spouse has lived in the state for at least two years.

All couples who were legally married in another state can get divorced in New York once they meet the residency requirements.

Is the Divorce Contested?

Once residency requirements are met and paperwork is prepared, a spouse must consider whether the divorce will be contested. Disagreement on any significant issue can stop a divorce’s progress.

These issues include:

  • Residential and legal child custody, parenting time and visitation;
  • Alimony or spousal support (called “maintenance” in New York);
  • Child support;
  • Payment of attorneys’ fees; and
  • Division of assets and debts.

These problems must be resolved through negotiations. Otherwise, they will be dealt with by the judge at trial. There are guidelines for some of these issues, but the others are left to the judge’s best discretion.

An uncontested divorce is faster and less expensive than a contested divorce. Spouses can end up waiting many months for a trial date in New York City’s family courts and supreme courts. Agreement will speed up the divorce process.

Is One Spouse Alleging Fault for the Divorce?

New York permits no-fault divorces and fault-based divorces. When a spouse alleges fault on the part of the other for the divorce, that spouse must prove those allegations in court.

While proving fault may bring the wronged spouse a sense of satisfaction, unless it is egregious or involves domestic violence, it rarely results with the wronged spouse receiving a larger share of marital property. It also can cause a lengthy and emotional divorce.

Are There Children of the Marriage?

Child custody must be determined in a divorce. In New York, the court uses the best interests of the child standard when making child custody decisions. There is also a presumption that children benefit from significant time with both parents.

Parents are encouraged to create their child custody plans rather than have one imposed upon them by the court. Unless there is something seriously wrong with one parent or domestic violence is present, sole legal custody is not likely to be ordered.

Parents should work with each other and their attorneys to have proposed plans when meeting or attending court hearings to make the process go smoother and help with compromise.

Contact an Experienced New York City Divorce Attorney Today

When you need experienced help with your New York City divorce, contact the professionals at the Law Offices of Vivien I. Stark, P.C. Our divorce attorneys will guide you through New York’s divorce process and ensure you receive the competent, skilled representation needed to protect your children, assets, and future.

Schedule your confidential consultation today with compassionate, dedicated divorce attorney Vivien I. Stark.

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