Divorce is a difficult and emotional process, and understanding the legal requirements and steps involved can be overwhelming. This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the initial stages of the divorce process in New York, providing tangible and useful tips to address some of the common issues you may encounter.
1. Determine the Grounds for Divorce
Before initiating the divorce process, you must first establish the grounds for divorce. In New York, there are seven grounds for divorce, including an irretrievable breakdown of the relationship, cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment, and adultery. If you are unsure which grounds apply to your situation, it is recommended to consult with a knowledgeable family law attorney.
2. Residency Requirements
To file for divorce in New York, you must meet the residency requirements. Either you or your spouse must have been living in New York for at least two years before filing for divorce, or one year if the grounds for divorce occurred in New York or both parties are residents.
3. Prepare and File the Necessary Forms
Once you have determined the grounds for divorce and met the residency requirements, you will need to prepare and file several forms with the court. These forms may include Summons, Verified Complaint, and Notice of Automatic Orders. The New York Courts website provides a comprehensive list of required forms and instructions for completing them. It is crucial to fill out these forms accurately and completely, as errors can delay the divorce process.
4. Serve Your Spouse with the Divorce Papers
After filing your divorce papers with the court, you must serve your spouse with a copy of the papers. This is a crucial step, as it notifies your spouse of the divorce proceedings and provides them with an opportunity to respond. In New York, you must serve your spouse within 120 days of filing the divorce papers. There are specific rules for how you must serve your spouse, and failure to follow these rules can result in your divorce being dismissed.
5. Await Your Spouse's Response
Once your spouse has been served with the divorce papers, they have 20 days to respond if they were served in person or 30 days if they were served by mail or another method. If your spouse agrees to the divorce and its terms, the process may move more quickly. However, if your spouse contests the divorce or its terms, the process may become more complicated and require additional legal guidance.
As you navigate the initial steps of the divorce process in New York, it is essential to have a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney by your side. At Winter & Grossman, PLLC, we understand the complexities of the divorce process and are committed to providing our clients with compassionate and effective legal representation. Our attorneys can guide you through the process, ensuring that your rights and interests are protected every step of the way.
Contact us today to discuss your divorce and learn more about how our experienced team can help you start the divorce process in New York.