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How to File for Divorce in New York

Nassau County Attorneys Helping You Through the Divorce Process

Nobody who enters a marriage expects or wants it to end in divorce. Unfortunately, sometimes spouses must go separate ways in order to live healthy, fulfilled lives.

The complex legality of divorce only compounds the emotional turmoil most divorcees experience. Even understanding where to start and how to file for a divorce in New York can be challenging. A compassionate, knowledgeable family law attorney from Jason M. Barbara & Associates, P.C., can help you navigate the divorce process and reach a beneficial arrangement for you and your ex-spouse.

How to File for Divorce in New York

Whether your divorce is contested or uncontested dictates if it goes to trial. You can learn more about how uncontested and contested divorces work by visiting the respective, dedicated articles on our website, but as a rule of thumb:

  • If both parties agree to a set of terms without the need for a mediator, the divorce is uncontested.
  • If both parties disagree on elements of the divorce (such as child support or property division), the divorce is contested, and a trial or advanced negotiations presided over by a mediator must take place.

Filing for divorce represents the first step in making your divorce legally recognized by the state of New York (and the U.S. at large). We can break down filing for divorce into three steps:

  1. You need to complete either a UD-1 "Summons With Notice" form, or a UD-1a "Summons" and UD-2 "Verified Complaint forms. By filing using either method, you declare yourself as the plaintiff and your spouse as the defendant. Filing a UD-1 form is more straightforward than filing a UD-1a and UD-2 form, which requires you to submit more information.

An established family law attorney can help you determine which form(s) to file given your unique circumstances. Once you fill out the forms, you should make two additional photocopies and file the forms with the county clerk appropriate for you and your spouse. The clerk will issue you a case index number that will be used to identify and archive your case documents.

  1. Your spouse must be served within 120 days of filing for divorce. In addition to the UD-1 or UD-1a and UD-2 forms, you'll need to serve a UD-7 "Affidavit of Defendant" form. Your attorney can help you find a process server that will handle the serving process for you. If your divorce is uncontested, your spouse will agree to the terms and return a completed UD-7 form within 40 days. If this period lapses without your spouse returning their UD-7, the process server will issue a UD-3 or UD-4 form to your spouse. If your spouse disagrees with the terms you set forth when you filed, they can file a "Notice of Appearance" form, making the divorce formally contested. It's important to note that not all contested divorces go to trial. An experienced mediator can help spouses negotiate an acceptable set of terms for the divorce, which can prevent the need for a trial.
  1. After waiting for the required 40 days or receiving a completed UD-7 form from your spouse, you can use the court calendar to schedule a date to finalize the divorce. If the divorce goes to trial, the court calendar will be used to schedule court appearances until the divorce is finalized.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation!

Divorce is a multifaceted, complex process that can be tedious and difficult to understand. Our sympathetic, experienced attorneys are here to help you shoulder the emotional and legal burden of divorce and achieve a beneficial arrangement for you and your ex-spouse.

Contact us onlineor via phone at (516) 406-8381 to receive a free consultation from our team.

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