Divorce is a legal action that ends or dissolves a marriage. In New York State, you must have “grounds,” or a legally acceptable reason, for divorce.
The acceptable grounds for divorce in New York State include:
Abandonment is acceptable grounds when one spouse leaves the other without justification, consent, or the intent to return, for a period of one year prior to the filing of the divorce papers.
- Cruel & Inhuman Treatment
If your spouse has subjected you to verbal, emotional, or physical abuse within a period of five years prior to filing for divorce, cruel & inhuman treatment can be claimed as acceptable grounds for divorce.
Grounds of adultery are acceptable for divorce if your spouse has been engaging in voluntary sexual relations with anyone other than you.
- Confinement to Prison
Filing for divorce with the grounds of confinement to prison is acceptable if your spouse has served a prison term for at least three years, with the spouse either currently incarcerated or up to five years after he/she is released.
- Living Pursuant to a Separation Agreement for One Year
Though a legal separation is now relatively uncommon, living apart for one year pursuant to the terms of a legal, notarized agreement is acceptable grounds for divorce.
- Living Pursuant to a Judgment of Separation for One Year
A judgment of separation is something that can be entered by a judge when one spouse wants a legal separation and the other spouse does not agree.
- Irretrievable Breakdown of the Relationship
If at least one spouse attests under oath that the marriage has been “irretrievably broken” for at least six months, and both spouses come to an agreement about the terms of a divorce, this grounds (also known as “no-fault” divorce) is acceptable.
An uncontested divorce means that whichever grounds you choose to file under, your spouse is not contesting that the grounds exist.
Many people are unaware of the last grounds in the list above: “irretrievable breakdown of the relationship,” also known as no-fault divorce.
In order to move forward with a “no-fault” divorce, at least one spouse must attest under oath that the marriage has been “irretrievably broken” for at least six months. This does not mean you need to have been separated for six months. In fact, a legal separation prior to divorce is no longer common.
The second condition required is that you and your spouse must resolve all issues related to separating prior to the uncontested divorce being granted. This includes spousal and child support, child custody, legal fees, and distribution of assets. Enlisting the help of a skilled attorney is strongly advised to ensure that the conditions are acceptable to the court and that the agreement is equitable. This may also require the help of other professionals.
Regardless of the grounds used, your divorce attorney will handle all of the documents that must be filed in the case of an uncontested divorce. Unlike a contested divorce, in most cases, neither you nor your spouse generally needs to make an appearance in court. However, should going to trial become necessary, it is imperative that your attorney be experienced.
The goal of the team at Bates Family Law is to minimize conflict and cost when settling your uncontested divorce. We will keep you informed and involved throughout the process, until a positive resolution is reached.
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When it comes to your divorce or family law case, experience matters. We have represented thousands of clients in matters of divorce, child custody, and child support.
Many people do not realize that New York is a no-fault divorce state. It is no longer necessary or even common to get a legal separation before getting divorced in New York. An uncontested divorce is the fastest and most budget-friendly path to marital dissolution. Often, an uncontested divorce can be settled with only one party retaining a lawyer.
When an uncontested divorce is not possible, you will want a family court lawyer with extensive trial experience. When you are considering hiring a family court lawyer, it is important to ask about the number of divorce trials they have handled.
Divorce for Business Owners or Their Spouses
If you or your spouse own a business, it’s crucial to hire a divorce attorney who has comprehensive experience handling business assets. Not all divorce attorneys understand business valuations or the tax consequences of businesses. The special considerations of business owners require special knowledge from your lawyer.
Nothing is more important than your children. If you are facing parental alienation or your children are being coached, a child custody battle can be especially difficult. We have expertly conducted countless child custody trials, including initial determinations of the best interests of the children, modifications to prior orders, enforcement proceedings, and cases of parental alienation.
Child support is much more complicated than a basic formula or a certain percentage of income. There are multiple considerations that go into calculating child support, especially if you or the other parent works in a cash business, is underemployed, or if you share equal time with the child. We are experienced in every aspect of determining child support. If child support is already established, we can even determine, often in a phone call, whether the amount you are currently paying or receiving is fair.
Orders of Protection
If you have been served with a Family Court Order of Protection or if you feel that you need an Order of Protection to keep you or your children safe, you must act fast. An Order of Protection against you can impact your job, your ability to see your children, your right to live in your home, and your right to possess firearms. If a temporary Order of Protection was issued against you without you being present, you have a right to have the Order of Protection reevaluated right away. If you are seeking an Order of Protection, we will help you apply for the order, most often within 24 hours.
Have you tried to work through the issues with your spouse and keep "getting stuck" in the same pattern? Our mediators help couples shift into a new and productive way of communicating and problem solving, even while they are working towards their divorce. This family-centered process, in which the parties themselves are in control and empowered to make their own decisions, seeks to reduce the tension and trauma of divorce, not increase it. This enables couples to achieve a sense of wholeness by working together through the current issues and develop the necessary tools for resolving future differences.