Filing a divorce against your spouse is a hectic decision, and paper-load makes it worse. To make this ordeal more seamless, we have created a list of options you can use while filing for a divorce in New York. All of them start by choosing to have an amicable divorce with your spouse. If you can reach an agreement on all the significant issues of their divorce can get a faster and cheaper divorce with much less stress.
There are many things to consider during a divorce, including alimony, custody arrangements for children, property division, and choosing a grounds for divorce. Age depending on the age of children, the number of finances and property, and the individual circumstances of the marriage, resolutions may vary.
Grounds for divorce
Grounds for divorce are an essential step to consider before filing a divorce. They are the legal reasons for which you file. New York has no-fault grounds and traditional fault-based grounds. To file a no-fault ground, you have to state one of the following:
- “The parties have lived separate and apart for at least one year under a written agreement of separation, which is signed by the parties and notarized.” This requires proof that the plaintiff has substantially performed the terms and conditions of the agreement. The agreement, or a memorandum of it, must be recorded with the county clerk’s office.
- “The parties have lived separate and apart for at least one year after the granting of a decree or judgment of separation.” This requires proof that the plaintiff has substantially performed all the terms and conditions of the decree or judgment.
The fault-based grounds for divorce include inhumane treatment that makes cohabiting under the same roof with the spouse unsafe. These include adultery, abandonment for over a year, and imprisonment for three years. However, selecting a fault-based ground complicates the case because the court requires proof.
Children in a divorce case
Whenever children are involved in a divorce case, custody, child support, and visitation must be worked out before the Judge signs the judgment. If the children are minors, the parents are asked to decide how their time will be split, but if the spouses fail to choose, the court makes the decision.
New York child custody law does not provide a list to consider; instead, the judge enters a custody order as “justice requires, having regard to the circumstances of the case and of the respective parties and the child’s best interests.”
This rule does not apply to all children but only to “children of the marriage.” Children of the marriage is a legal term that refers to the children under 20 years of age who are born/adapted by you and your spouse.
Child support has to be decided before the divorce is granted.
The property division includes both estates/assets and debts, but only common properties acquired by both partners during the marriage.
Separate property, which is anything acquired before marriage, or by inheritance or non-spousal gift, stays with the original owner. This also includes any property acquired in exchange for separate property, except that the appreciation is due in part to the contributions or efforts of the other party.
A description of the separate property should be included in a written agreement by both parties.
The rest of the property is marital property. Marital property must be split as part of the divorce decree. If the parties can agree on how to divide property on their own, and the judge determines it is fair, it will be accepted by the court. If an agreement is absent, then the judge divides all marital property equitably based on the following factors:
- Each party’s income and property at the time of marriage, and at the time of filing;
- The duration of the marriage, and each party’s age and health;
- The need of a custodial parent to occupy or own the marital residence, and to use or possess its household effects;
- The loss of inheritance and pension rights upon dissolution of the marriage;
- The loss of health insurance benefits upon dissolution of the marriage;
- Any award of maintenance (alimony);
- Any equitable claim to, interest in, or direct or indirect contribution made to the acquisition of marital property by the party not having title, including services as a spouse, parent, wage earner, and homemaker, and the career of the other party;
- The liquid or non-liquid character of all marital property;
- Each party’s probable future financial circumstances;
- The impossibility or difficulty of evaluating any component asset or any interest in a business, corporation, or profession; and the economic desirability of retaining such asset or interest intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party;
- The tax consequences to each party;
- The wasteful dissipation of assets by either spouse;
- Any transfer or encumbrance in contemplation of divorce, without fair consideration;
- Any other factor the court finds to be just and proper.
After reading the aspects mentioned above, if you still want to go for an uncontested divorce, consider the following ways you can file in New York.
- DIY Divorce
DIY Divorce is the most affordable option for a divorce since you will not have to pay any professionals for their services. You do everything on your own.
Divorce forms can be downloaded online for an uncontested divorce. The forms may vary depending on your case (children or no children, the type of property, etc.).
You will have to make a check-list of documents and be prepared to print them if you get them online. Alternatively, these documents can be picked up at the local court.
However, DIY divorce is only a viable option for an uncontested divorce. If there is any sort of dispute, your case will have to be contested in court, and an attorney will have to be hired to protect your best interests. You can self-represent yourself in court, called Prose, but it isn’t recommended.
If you do not want to go through this procedure alone, you can call in an attorney. An attorney from a reputable firm can help prepare papers, draw up a settlement agreement, and file your documents in an uncontested divorce. If you don’t want to have high legal expenses, you can use an attorney for one part of your uncontested case, like to check over your paperwork or draft your settlement agreement. This will help keep costs down.
If, however, your divorce is contested, the attorney will fight for your best interests in the court, and the cost can end up being quite high.
- New York State Court-E filing system
NYSEF, if someone wants to represent themselves without an attorney, the website can be used for e-filing your court papers. NYSEF does not, however, help you prepare your court paper. It just enables you to upload them online.
You might want to consider an online divorce service (see the next section) if you are looking for affordable assistance with paperwork preparation.
- Divorce Services
Some online divorce companies provide you with an easy solution for divorce paperwork preparation. Their procedure is reliable, completely private, and affordable, with prices ranging from $139 to $299. The site will check your eligible first. If you qualify, they can help you with the paperwork and guide you through the filing process. Do it all at your pace.
To be eligible for online divorce in New York, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of New York for one year before commencing the action. It will allow you to get an uncontested divorce online in 3 easy steps.
These companies cannot guarantee you will not be called into court for a final hearing because that varies according to the county and state. However, some of these companies offer a 100% money-back guarantee if the court does not respond to your request.
The three steps to get an online divorce are:
- Register your account
- Answer a few non-legal questions
- Print, sign, and file the completed documents you receive.
They personalize your divorce documents according to your state, income, children, assets, and other factors involved with your case.
Most companies even offer step by step guidance through your divorce filing procedure and unlimited support over the phone and email.