How Long Does a Divorce Take in NY?

Divorce is a tough decision, and the process can be an emotional and financial burden. But how long does it take to get divorced in New York? To answer this question, you might have a hunch, but you may not know all the factors contributing to divorce timelines. This article will provide readers with an overview of the divorce process in New York and discuss the time frames associated with various stages.

Overview of the New York Divorce Process

Divorce is a complex and stressful process for many couples, and the New York divorce process can seem overwhelming. It is essential to understand the timeline of the legal process before beginning any steps so that you are aware of all your options. The following overview will help explain what to expect when filing for divorce in New York.

The initial step for couples seeking a divorce in New York is filing a summons and complaint with the courthouse clerk where either spouse lives or was married. Once this has been filed, a copy must be served on your spouse – either by personal service or publication- if they cannot be found. After this, financial documents are exchanged, which must occur within 45 days from the service date.

Filing for Divorce in NY

Filing for divorce in New York can be a complicated process. Understanding the laws and procedures associated with filing for divorce is essential to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Individuals must be aware that there are different types of divorces available in New York, and choosing which route to take will affect how long it takes until the court issues a final decree.

In New York State, there are six types of divorce proceedings: uncontested divorce; contested divorce; default/unanimous matrimonial action; collaborative law; simplified procedure/no-fault; and separation agreement.


Filing for an uncontested divorce in New York is a relatively straightforward process. Uncontested divorces occur when the two parties agree on all aspects of their divorce, including the division of property and child custody. If you file for an uncontested divorce in New York, you’ll need to meet certain criteria and provide specific information as part of your filing.

When preparing to file for an uncontested divorce in New York, it’s essential to understand the process and the required documents. You must be a state resident for at least one year before filing and providing proof that your marriage has been broken down for six months or more. All necessary documents should be completed correctly before submitting them to the court. Otherwise, your petition could be rejected by the judge.

Contested divorces

Contested divorces in New York can involve significant time and money. Both parties file for divorce in NY; however, their disagreements on the division of assets or other issues prevent them from reaching an agreement. If this happens, couples must litigate their differences in court and have a judge decide who gets what.

It is always advisable to try to work out your differences first by engaging the services of a mediator or attorney as opposed to going directly to court. A mediator tries to facilitate discussions between both parties so they can come up with an agreement that is satisfactory for each party. However, the court is the only option if no agreement can be reached.

Legal Requirements & Considerations

If you are considering filing for divorce in NY, it’s essential to understand the laws governing divorces in the state and what will be required from both parties.

Under New York law, either party can file for a divorce if there has been an “irretrievable breakdown” of their marriage. The couple must also meet the necessary residency requirements; one spouse must have resided in NY for at least two years before filing, or one spouse must have been a resident of NY on the date of marriage and have lived there since then to the present time.

In addition, all assets, including real estate and financial accounts, will need to be divided appropriately during a divorce.

Residency Requirements

New York requires that at least one of the parties must have resided in the state for at least two years before filing for a divorce if they allow the court to decide issues of support or custody. If none of the parties meet this residency requirement, they must file their divorce in another state. If both parties meet this requirement, filing can proceed in New York State Supreme Court.

Waiting Periods

Under New York law, a mandatory waiting period must be observed before any divorce can be finalized. This waiting period is typically six months long, though it may be extended depending on the circumstances of the case. During this time, both parties can consider their options and make decisions about child custody or the division of assets as needed. Additionally, this period allows ample time for spouses to attempt reconciliation if desired.

Substantial Assets

The court will consider both parties’ separate and marital assets during a divorce filing that includes substantial assets. This consists of any property, investments, real estate, or possessions acquired during the marriage. The court may also consider non-monetary contributions or services one spouse provided to another during their wedding.

Suppose you are considering filing for divorce in New York with substantial assets. In that case, it is best to speak with an experienced NY divorce attorney who can help guide you through the process and ensure your rights are protected throughout the procedure.

Shorten the Process with Mediation

Filing for divorce in New York can be a long, complicated process. However, it may not have to be that way. Mediation is one option available to couples looking to dissolve their marriage and can help shorten the process significantly.

Mediation is a voluntary process where parties work together with an impartial third-party facilitator or mediator to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. During the mediation, divorcing spouses discuss issues such as custody arrangements for children, division of assets and debts, alimony, and other matters related to the dissolution of their marriage. The mediator does not make decisions for the couple but instead works with them to come up with solutions that everyone can agree on.

In addition to being less expensive than litigating a divorce in court since there are fewer attorney fees, mediation also allows couples more control over their divorce proceedings.

The Role of the Court System in NY Divorces

The divorce process in New York is an intricate and often difficult one to navigate. Couples must understand the court system’s role throughout their case and how it will affect their outcome.

In New York, a couple must file for divorce in the county where at least one party resides or where they last lived together as husband and wife. The court’s primary role is to ensure that all parties have had fair notice of proceedings, that both parties have been allowed to present evidence on relevant issues, and that both sides are heard before a decision is made.

Once all necessary documents are filed with the court, a judge will preside over a trial or hearing, depending on the factors involved in each case. A judge may award certain assets to either spouse, make decisions regarding child custody arrangements and set financial support orders if necessary.

Strategies for Shortening Divorce Timeframes

Divorce is often a stressful and challenging process for everyone involved. However, some strategies can help shorten the timeframe of a divorce.

The first step in shortening the divorce timeframe is to be proactive in gathering all necessary documents. When parties have all their financial, tax, and other documents ready before filing for divorce, this will expedite the process. It eliminates any back-and-forth between attorneys or waiting on third-party vendors to provide information.

Additionally, couples should create an open line of communication during negotiations, as this often helps resolve issues quickly and efficiently. Communication can also help both parties avoid getting stuck on minute details that may slow down the entire process.


The following resources may help understand the process of obtaining a divorce in New York:

  • New York State Unified Court System Divorce Resources:
  • New York Divorce Law:
  • New York Marriage & Divorce Laws:
  • New York State Domestic Relations Law:


The timeline of a divorce in New York is typically between one and two years, depending on the case’s complexity. For those considering filing for divorce, understanding the process and its potential timeline can be beneficial in making an informed decision. Additionally, hiring an experienced family law attorney can help to ensure that all paperwork is filed correctly and efficiently. Furthermore, various resources are available to support individuals filing for divorce in New York State.