1. Do I have to be a New York resident to get a divorce in New York? Is living in New York enough?
If at least one spouse lived in New York for at least two years, they can get a divorce in New York.
If at least one spouse lived in New York for at least one year, and either (1) got married in New York, or (2) lived in New York as married couple, or (3) grounds for divorce happened in New York, they can get a divorce in New York.
If both spouses are New York residents and the grounds for divorce happened in New York, they can get a divorce in New York.
2. Is agreeing to the divorce enough to get a divorce? What about cheating? Deserting the marriage?
There are seven grounds for divorce: (1) no-fault, (2) cruel and inhumane treatment, (3) abandonment, (4) imprisonment, (5) adultery, (6) divorce after a legal separation agreement, and (7) divorce after a judgment of separation. Each of these grounds have their own requirements, and those requirements must be met, even for a no-fault divorce that spouses both want.
3. What is a no-fault divorce?
New York used to require that there must be a fault such as abandonment or adultery in order to grant a divorce. New York no longer requires a fault, hence the so-called “no-fault” divorce. However, a “irretrievable breakdown in relationship for a period of at least 6 months” is still required to use the no-fault ground for divorce.
4. What if I do not know where my spouse is?
The other spouse must be notified of the beginning of his/her divorce. If the spouse is missing or hiding, and therefore cannot be notified of the divorce, you must ask the court about how to satisfy the notification requirement so the divorce process can proceed.
5. What happens if one spouse wants a divorce and the other does not want a divorce?
If one spouse wants a divorce and the other does not, the court can decide to give them a divorce.
If both spouses want a divorce but they cannot agree about the details of the divorce such as child support, the court can decide for them and give them a divorce.
When the court must get involved and decide for the divorce and its details, it is called a contested divorce. When the spouses agree on all details of their divorce and the court needs to only approve those details, it is called an uncontested divorce.
6. What is child support?
Child support is financial support provided from the parent without custody to the parent with custody. It can be monthly payments, but also costs of child care, medical care for the child, and health care costs not covered by the insurance.
7. Can my spouse get half of my everything?
It depends: if the spouses cannot agree on how to divide their property, the court will have to decide for them. The court first determines which properties are to be divided and which are not. Then for the properties to be divided, the court will decide what is a fair way to divide the property, based on 14 factors. Some of the factors are the incomes and duration of the marriage.
8. Does New York recognize common law marriages?
Although common law marriage cannot happen within the State of New York, it could happen outside of New York; and if it is valid in that state, the State of New York may also recognize such out-of-state common law marriage.