If you and your spouse have already agreed on:

  • How to split up your home and other real estate
  • How to divide your retirement assets and business interests

  • How to divide your debts

  • How you will make decisions for your children, and how you will resolve disagreements in making these decisions

  • With whom will the children maintain primary residence

  • The parenting schedule during the school year, summers, school breaks and holidays

  • The amount and duration of child support and spousal support

  • Who will claim the Children on his/her tax return

  • What type of additional expenses you will share for the Children and how responsibility for these expenses will be divided

  • Who will maintain health insurance for the children, will there be health insurance for each of you?

  • you may be able to obtain an Uncontested Divorce.

The Process

To begin an Uncontested Divorce, one spouse is designated the Plaintiff and the other the Defendant.  Usually the Plaintiff completes and files most of the paperwork.

This can be done by hiring an attorney or handling the uncontested divorce without a lawyer (called being “pro se”).  If the Plaintiff is acting “pro se”, they can get further information by following this link:  Divorce Packet Instructions

The Plaintiff’s first step is to  purchase an Index Number and file a Summons and Complaint in the Supreme Court.  In New York State, Family courts and Supreme courts handle marital disputes, but only a Supreme Court can issue a Judgment of Divorce. (For more information on how these courts operate, please follow these links: Which Court Do You Go to With a Family Dispute in New York? and Which Court Do You Go to With a Family Dispute in New York? Part 2.)

Once these documents are filed, the Plaintiff will either serve the Defendant spouse with these papers, or the Defendant spouse will voluntarily sign an Affidavit of Defendant, agreeing to the divorce and waiving his/her right to answer and contest in the Divorce.

If the Defendant has to be served, the Plaintiff must get a third party adult to hand the documents to the Defendant in person and then complete the Affidavit of Service and file it with the court. An Affidavit of Defendant however, can be handed to the Defendant directly by the Plaintiff.

If the Defendant signs the Affidavit of Defendant, the divorce can then proceed uncontested.  If the Defendant is served but fails to respond and contest the case after 30 days, the Plaintiff can then proceed with the divorce as Uncontested (It is then called Undefended).

The Paperwork

Once the Defendant spouse is served or signs the Affidavit of Defendant, the Plaintiff spouse can start compiling all of the final documents to be submitted to the court. Those documents include:

  • Summons and Complaint

  • Affidavit of Service or Affidavit of Defendant

  • Affidavit of Plaintiff

  • Note of Issue

  • Request for Judicial Intervention and/or Matrimonial Addendum

  • Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law

  • Judgment of Divorce

  • Separation or Settlement Agreement (that covers children and property issues)

  • Child Support Worksheet

  • Certificate of Dissolution and Ancillary Forms

All of the forms to be filed and fees that need to be paid to court can be found on the New York Courts’ website.

Timing

Once all of the final documents are filed in court, the spouses must wait for the Judgment of Divorce to be signed and entered. The length of time will vary depending on the county in which you file.

No matter where you file, you and your spouse should be prepared for the process to take 6 months to 1 year from start to finish and that is only if all of the final documents were completed correctly.

Do we need an attorney?

While it is possible to go through the process of getting an Uncontested Divorce without an attorney, it is only advisable if you and your spouse have a lot of time and a lot of patience. An experienced attorney would be able to quickly and correctly file all of the papers required to obtain an uncontested divorce for you.  Furthermore, if you have joint assets and liabilities, joint property or children, most likely you will need to include an agreement (called Separation or Settlement Agreement) that addresses and resolves all of these matters.

Think an uncontested divorce might be a good choice for you?  Please feel free to give us a call with any questions you may have, or leave a comment in the box below.                                          

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Alla Roytberg, PC

Alla Roytberg
The Law Firm and Mediation Practice of Alla Roytberg, PC
www.goodlawfirm.com
Phone: 212-582-5757
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