Many clients ask us about uncontested divorces. An uncontested divorce is not the same thing as a “no-fault” divorce. Uncontested divorce is an expedited legal proceeding that bypasses much of the cost, stress, and time required to process a typical, contested divorce. Uncontested divorces are not available or even advisable in all cases, but when an uncontested divorce is on the table, it could be very advantageous for all parties. Read on to learn about the considerations that go into whether to pursue an uncontested divorce. If you are considering divorce in New York, talk to a dedicated New York divorce lawyer for help.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is an expedited divorce proceeding available to couples who agree to divorce and who have settled all major issues related to the divorce. Parties who file for an uncontested divorce can typically obtain a divorce without needing to attend a hearing, although they must still satisfy the appropriate requirements and file the necessary paperwork. An uncontested divorce is generally much cheaper, faster, and less combative than a typical divorce.
Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce
To file for an uncontested divorce in New York, the parties must agree to end the marriage and must also agree on all divorce-related issues in the case. If there are any outstanding disputes, such as division of property or child custody, then an uncontested divorce is not available.
The parties must have settled on all issues including:
- The plan to divorce
- The grounds for divorce (typically “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage,” New York’s no-fault divorce ground)
- Child custody and parenting time plans
- Division of all marital property and debt
- Whether either party will pay alimony/spousal support and how much
- Whether either party will pay child support and how much
- Any other financial issues linked to the divorce
Additionally, in order to file for divorce, the parties must satisfy New York’s residency requirement. To meet the residency requirement:
- Either spouse must have been living in New York for at least two continuous years before filing for divorce, or
- Either spouse must have lived in New York for one year, and either:
- The couple married in New York
- The couple lived in New York as a married couple
- The grounds for divorce arose in New York
Is an Uncontested Divorce Right for You?
An uncontested divorce can be a fast and easy process for couples that satisfy the requirements. Typically, uncontested divorces are for parties that have not been married for an extended period of time, have limited or simple-to-divide marital assets, and do not have children. Parties who do have significant assets or who do have shared children can seek an uncontested divorce, but they must work to settle all relevant issues before filing. If the spouses can work together to resolve all issues pertinent to the divorce in mediation or settlement negotiations before filing, then an uncontested divorce is on the table.
If, however, you and your spouse have any important points of disagreement, if there are complex issues at stake (such as complicated assets like a family business), or if you are concerned about whether your spouse is hiding assets or otherwise being less than forthcoming, it might be necessary to follow the traditional divorce process. Talk to your family law attorney about your options for divorce to evaluate the best choice for you and your family.
Seasoned Advice and Representation For Your Bronx Divorce
If you are facing the prospect of divorce in New York, talk to an experienced and thorough New York divorce attorney at the Bronx offices of the Kohn Law Firm for a free consultation, at 718-409-1200.