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New York Divorce Information

The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of New York divorce.

You can get more specific information regarding New York divorce laws using the links provided to New York divorce laws or at your local library.

This information is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Before taking any action you should seek the advice of an attorney familiar with the laws in the state in which you will be seeking a divorce.

Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.

New York Divorce Resources

Residency Requirements A divorce can be granted under New York laws when:
  • The parties were married in New York and either party has been a New York resident, at the time the divorce papers are filed, for at least one year immediately before filing the divorce papers
  • The parties have resided in New York as husband and wife and either party has been a New York resident, at the time the divorce papers are filed, for at least one year immediately before filing the divorce papers
  • The cause occurred in New York and either party has been a New York resident, at the time the divorce papers are filed, for at least one year immediately before filing the divorce papers
  • The grounds for divorce occurred in New York, and both parties are New York residents at the time the divorce papers are filed
  • Either party has been a resident of New York for a continuous period of at least two years immediately before filing the divorce papers
Where to File Summons and complaint must be filed with the county clerk's office after the purchase of an index number.
Grounds for Divorce A divorce can be granted under New York laws for one of the two no-fault grounds:
  • Living separate and apart for at least one year after receiving a decree or judgment of separation. The plaintiff must submit satisfactory proof that he or she has followed all the terms and conditions of the decree
  • Living separate and apart for one year under the terms of a written separation agreement, filed with the clerk of the county where either party resides. The plaintiff must submit satisfactory proof that he or she has substantially performed all the terms and conditions of the agreement
  • The relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months. One party must state this is true under oath. All economic, custody and visitation issues must be resolved or determined by the court and be incorporated into the judgment for divorce.
The following fault-based grounds also exist under New York divorce laws:
  • The cruel and inhuman treatment of the plaintiff by the defendant if the treatment endangers the physical or mental well being of the plaintiff, rendering it unsafe or improper for the plaintiff to cohabit with the defendant
  • The abandonment of the plaintiff by the defendant for a period of at least one year
  • The confinement of the defendant in prison for a period of three or more consecutive years after the parties' marriage
  • The commission of an act of adultery
Property Distribution The court will return each spouse's separate property to that spouse. Marital property will be distributed equitably between the parties, considering the circumstances of the case and of the respective parties. In determining an equitable disposition of property, the court shall consider:
  • The income and property of each party at the time of marriage, and at the time of the commencement of the action
  • The duration of the marriage and the age and health of both parties
  • The need of a custodial parent to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects
  • The loss of inheritance and pension rights upon dissolution of the marriage as of the date of dissolution
  • Any award of alimony
  • Any equitable claim to, interest in, or direct or indirect contribution made to the acquisition of such marital property by the party not having title, including joint efforts or expenditures and contributions and services as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker, and to the career or career potential of the other party
  • The liquid or non-liquid character of all marital property
  • The probable future financial circumstances of each party
  • 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 made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration
  • Any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper
Child Custody New York laws will take into consideration the best interests of the child when determining custody, but there are no specific guidelines in the statutes to determine custody. It will be decided on a case-by-case basis.
Child Support In New York the court uses specific guidelines to calculate the amount of child support to be paid. To calculate the basic child support obligation, the parents' combined net income is multiplied by specific percentages. The basic child support obligation shall then be divided between the parents in proportion to their respective incomes.

In certain situations the court can deviate from the specific guidelines. In deviating from the basic child support obligation, courts will look to all relevant factors including the:
  • Financial resources of both parents and the child;
  • Physical and emotional health of the child and any special needs;
  • Child's standard of living;
  • Tax consequences of the parties;
  • Non-monetary contributions of the parents;
  • Educational needs; and
  • Needs of the non-custodial parent's other children.
Spousal Support The court shall order the post-divorce maintenance guideline obligation up to the income cap unless the court finds that the post-divorce maintenance guideline obligation is unjust or inappropriate, which finding shall be based upon consideration of any one or more of the following factors, and adjusts the post-divorce maintenance guideline obligation accordingly based upon such consideration:
  • The income and property of the respective parties including marital property distributed in the divorce
  • The duration of the marriage and the age and health of both parties
  • The present and future earning capacity of both parties
  • The ability of the party seeking alimony to become self-supporting and, if applicable, the period of time and training needed to become self-supporting
  • The reduced or lost lifetime earning capacity of the party seeking alimony as a result of having foregone or delayed education, training, employment, or career opportunities during the marriage
  • The presence of children of the marriage in the respective homes of the parties
  • The tax consequences to each party
  • The contributions and services of the party seeking alimony as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker, and to the career or career potential of the other party
  • The wasteful dissipation of marital property by either spouse
  • Any transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration
  • The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage
  • Any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper
The court may determine the duration of post-divorce maintenance in accordance with the following advisory schedule:
Length of the marriage:
  • 0 up to and including 15 years 15% - 30% of the length of the marriage for which maintenance will be payable
  • More than 15 up to and including 20 years 30% - 40% 20 of the length of the marriage for which maintenance will be payable
  • More than 20 years 35% - 50% of the length of the marriage for which maintenance will be payable
In determining the duration of post-divorce maintenance, whether or not the court utilizes the advisory schedule, it shall consider the factors listed above and shall set forth, in a written decision or on the record, the factors it considered. Such decision shall not be waived by either party or counsel. Nothing herein shall prevent the court from awarding non-durational maintenance in an appropriate case.


New York Divorce Attorneys by County

New York Divorce Mediators by County


DISCLAIMER:
This information has been compiled directly from the most recently available statutes online for each state. Every effort has been made to assure that this information is correct and complete. Be aware that laws frequently change. Do not take any action based on this information without first consulting an attorney to be certain that the laws pertaining to your particular situation have not changed.

The language used in most cases on this page is legal terminology taken directly from the statutes and laws of each state. The terminology is not always easy to understand. If you are not sure of something you should consult an attorney so that you can fully understand the meaning of the laws.

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Do not take any actions based upon the information contained within this web site without first consulting an attorney or an appropriate professional depending upon the content of the information.