Divorce is often an extremely stressful and difficult time. The breakup of a relationship is a challenging and emotionally draining undertaking. Thankfully, for those seeking divorce on Long Island and in the greater New York metropolitan area there is a much simpler process for obtaining a divorce than going to court.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
To get a divorce, spouses can choose either: a contested divorce or an uncontested divorce. By definition, a contested divorce is a divorce action which occurs after the parties have hired attorneys and have sought court intervention. In contrast, an uncontested divorce occurs when the spouses are able to reach an agreement on all issues with the guidance of neutral mediators or through the collaborative divorce model. The documents for an uncontested divorce are filed by the attorney/mediator or the collaborative attorney without the parties ever having to go to court.
Benefits of Uncontested Divorce
While a traditional litigated divorce is typically a stressful and time-consuming, uncontested divorces obtained through the mediation or the collaborative process helps to reduce conflict and stress, saves a considerable amount of money and promotes a better co-parenting working relationship, if there are children involved.
Although you don’t necessarily need a lawyer to complete the process, it is strongly recommended and encouraged to at least contact one in order to avoid errors within legal proceedings. The documents that comprise an uncontested divorce packet are numerous and detailed. Moreover, a comprehensive written and duly executed agreement addressing the division of the spouse’s marital assets and debts, spousal support, if any, child support and all other issues concerning the children, if any, must accompany the uncontested divorce documents. The agreement is legally binding and is drafted by attorneys specializing in divorce law.
What Are the Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce?
Legal Grounds For Divorce
In New York, there are several legally appropriate reasons for granting divorce by New York State courts, of which you must satisfy at least one. These include, but are not limited to:
– Cruel and inhuman treatment
– Confinement to Prison
– Living separate and apart for at least one year under a separation decree of Judgement of Separation,
– Living seaprate and apart at least one year after the execution of a separation agreement
– A no-fault divorce, which is defined as the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship for at least six months.
By far, the two most frequently used grounds for an uncontested divorce are living separately for at least a year after the execution of a separation agreement or the no fault ground for divorce.
Moreover, you must meet New York’s residency requirement to obtain a divorce. Those requirements are as follows:
1) You and/or your spouse must live, or have been living in New York State, for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of your divorce action, or
2) You and/or your spouse must have been living in New York State for a continuous period of at least one year immediately preceding the start of your divorce action, and at minimum one of the following must also be true:
a) You were married in New York State, or
b) You and your spouse have lived in New York State as married persons.
3) You and/or your spouse must have been living in New York State for a continuous period of at least one year immediately before the commencement of your divorce action, or
4) You and your spouse must be residents of New York State on the date you start your divorce proceedings, and your legal reasons (grounds) for divorce occurred while you lived in NY must have happened in New York State.
To obtain an uncontested divorce in NY, you MUST complete the following papers; these documents can be difficult to do on one’s own, therefore The New York Divorce Mediation Group will prepare these for you. Due to COVID, all documents will be filed electronically. For sake of simplicity and convenience, related documents will be grouped:
- Notice Of Automatic Order, Notice of Guideline Maintenance, and Notice Concerning Continuation Of Health Care Coverage
- Summons with Notice (UD-1), Summons (UD-1a)
- Verified Complaint (UD-2)
- Sworn Statement of Removal of Barriers to Remarriage (UD-4)
- Affidavit of Service (UD-3), Affirmation (Affidavit) of Regularity (UD-5), Affidavit of Plaintiff (UD-6), Affidavit of Defendant (UD-7), Affidavit of Service by Mail of JOD (Form UD-15), Affidavit in Support of Application to Proceed as Poor Person, Affidavit of Service of Proposed Poor Person’s Order
- Annual Income Worksheet (UD-8(1)), Maintenance Guidelines Worksheet (UD-8(2))
- Child Support Worksheet (UD-8(3)), Support Collection Unit Information Sheet (UD-8a), Qualified Medical Child Support Order (UD-8b), 31) IWO Child Support or Combined Child and Spousal Support LDSS-5037, UCS-111 Child Support Summary Form, UCS-111 Child Support Summary Form, LDSS 5143 Application for Child Support Services, Short Form Application for Child Support Services in Supreme Court (may be used instead of LDSS 5143)
- Note of Issue (UD-9), Findings of Fact/Conclusions of Law (UD-10), Judgment of Divorce (UD-11), Part 130 Certification (UD-12), Request for Judicial Intervention (RJI) (UD-13), Notice of Entry (UD-14)
- Addendum for the RJI (UCS-840M), DRL 255 Addendum, DRL 255 Addendum
- Poor Person Order, Postcard Sample, Certificate of Dissolution, Notice of Settlement
- IWO Spousal Support Only Income Withholding Order (LDSS-5038), IWO Numbered Instructions LDSS-5039
- NYS Case Registry Filing Form for use with Non-IV-D orders (except spousal only orders)
The Finalized Divorce
If the parties have previously signed a Separation Agreement, that Agreement may be converted to a divorce on the basis of living under the Separation Agreement for at least a year or on the no fault ground that the parties’ marriage has been irretrievably broken for the previous six months. At the New York Divorce Mediation Group, we will prepare and file your divorce papers. Once the Judge signs the divorce decree, known as a Judgment of Divorce, your divorce is final and you will each be sent a certified copy for your records. . The entire process from preparing and filing the uncontested divorce papers takes a few months, depending on the county in which you file. If you should have any further questions about an uncontested divorce, please contact one of our Long Island divorce mediators online today or call 516-749-5017 to schedule a no cost consultation.