How to File and Serve the Papers

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Prior to filing for divorce in New York, you need to make sure you meet the requirements. The residency requirement in this state is just one standard you must pay attention to, and it means you must live here for a certain period of time if you want to file in this state. If you both live in New York, and the reason for divorce occurred here, there is no residency requirement. However, if only one of you currently lives in this state, the residency requirement is 2 years.

On the other hand, if you were married here and one of you still lives in this state, the residency requirement is only 1 year. The same goes if the grounds for divorce arose in this state, or you both lived in New York together and one of you still lives here. If you are still not sure if you meet the residency requirement for New York, you should ask your divorce lawyer.


Once you know you meet all the requirements, and you have spoken to a lawyer, you need to officially file a complaint with the court. This requires you to fill out paperwork that states the ground for divorce, the current residence of both you and your spouse, and the day and location where you were married. If you have children together, you will also need to list their names and birth dates.

A process server will deliver the complaint to your spouse, who will then have to answer it. Your spouse will need to state whether he or she agrees to the complaint, which will determine whether you will have a contested or uncontested divorce.


In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse both agree to the terms of the separation, including child support, alimony, asset division, and other important issues. Not surprisingly, though, many couples cannot agree on even the most basic details, so a lot of New York divorces are contested. Though a lawyer is helpful for either type of divorce, hiring one is especially crucial when your case is contested.


In New York, you need to show that your divorce is based on one of the grounds allowed in this state. For a no-fault divorce, you need to prove one of the following:

Irretrievable breakdown in your marriage for at least six months.

  • You have been living apart for at least 1 year and have adhered to the terms of a signed and notarized separation contract.
  • You have been living apart from each other for at least 1 year while adhering to the terms of a judicial separation ruling.

If you seek a fault-based divorce in New York, you need to prove one of the following grounds:

  • Your spouse committed adultery
  • Your spouse has abandoned you for at least 1 years
  • Your spouse has been incarcerated for at least 3 years in a row
  • You have suffered cruel and inhuman treatment at the hands of your spouse


Divorce usually takes months or even years to be considered complete, so child support and custody arrangements are not determined right away. If you need temporary assistance, you can ask the court for temporary child custody or child support orders. This ensures that your children do not suffer during the divorce process.

If you have debt that both you and your spouse are responsible for, you can request temporary orders to determine who pays it while the divorce process continues. This helps ensure that your bills are paid as you go through this life-changing legal process. If you need help getting temporary assistance from the court, you should let your New York divorce lawyer know.

If you have any questions about how to begin the process in this state, you should call Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. We have dealt with countless cases in New York, and are happy to guide you through the complex process of divorce. We will make sure you are taken care of no matter how long your spouse tries to drag out the divorce, so call us today at (855) 965-1771 or 718-752-7426.

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