| Does my complaint for divorce need to be verified (signed in the presence of a notary, and acknowledged)?
Answer: Yes. In New York, divorce complaints must include a verification by the plaintiff (the spouse who is filing the action for divorce). A verification is a statement under oath that the pleading is true to the knowledge of the deponent (plaintiff). If you use our forms service, we will gladly serve as your notary, free of charge.
What is the legal basis (or "ground") for divorce in New York?
Answer: New York was the last state in the United States to offer its residents a no-fault basis for obtaining a judgment of divorce. New York's no-fault divorce statute became effective on October 12, 2010. The no-fault ground for divorce is codified in New York's Domestic Relations Law as Section 170(7). You do not need to prove that your spouse committed any act of misconduct. Rather, you need only allege that your marital relationship "has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months." Your sworn statement in your complaint is the sole "proof" that is required. As a practical matter, there is no way for your spouse to legally challenge your allegation of an irretrievable breakdown.
How many papers will I need to file with the Court to obtain an uncontested divorce?
Answer: Uncontested divorces in New York require an unusually large number of different documents, each of which must be signed in a precise manner. In an uncontested divorce without children, 13 separate documents are required. Each document must be signed in the correct order. For example, the "Affidavit of Plaintiff" form must be signed and notarized on a date after the signing of the "Affidavit of Defendant" form. The large number of documents, and precise manner in which each document must be completed and acknowledged, is one of the reasons why so many people have use our service. We provide you with step-by-step instructions and unlimited, free telephone support. We are a truly local divorce service. We were founded in 1999 by New York divorce lawyer Marc Rapaport, and we file papers with New York courts nearly every weekday.
Where do I file my papers?
Answer: Many customers retain us to file their divorce papers for them. However, at least 75% of our clients handle their own filing with the court. The process is not particularly difficult. However, it does entail at least three separate trips to the Supreme Court in the county where you reside. Note that regardless of where you reside in New York State, you can file your papers with the courthouse in Manhattan (60 Centre Street) because New York County is an "open" county, and accepts uncontested divorce filings for all New York residents.
Will I need to testify or appear in front of a judge?
Answer: No. In New York, uncontested divorce judgments are issued "on the papers". This means that you will need to: (1) file your initial pleading (summons) with the main court clerk's office; (2) file your final set of papers (including, among other documents, the Affidavit of Defendant, Affidavit of Plaintiff, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, and Judgment of Divorce) with the Matrimonial Clerk; and (3) pick up a certified copy of your judgment of divorce from the Courthouse when it has been entered. Customers who retain us to file their divorce papers (we charge $350.00 for filing) do not have to appear in court at all. If you file your own papers, you will need to make at least three trips to the courthouse, but you will not have to testify in fron of a judge.
I am unsure about how to divide our property. What is the legal standard for division of marital property in New York?
Answer: Under New York's equitable distribution law, the assets and debts of the marriage are divided in a way that is fair. This does not necessarily mean equal. However, particularly in long-term marriages (marriages of 10 years or more), there is a presumption that assets are split equally between the parties. If an asset or debt was acquired after the date you were married, it is generally presumed to be a marital asset or debt. A nonmarital asset or debt is one that was acquired before the date of the marriage or was received as a gift or inheritance by one of the parties. Income from nonmarital property may be deemed nonmarital. However, if the income from the nonmarital property was the result of active efforts of the parties during the marriage, it may sometimes be deemed marital.