New York became the last state in America to recognize "no-fault" divorce. This happened in 2010. A "no-fault divorce" means that a divorce can be granted even if neither spouse is held responsible for the divorce. This differs from "uncontested divorce" as uncontested divorce is not particularly concerned with fault, just that both spouses have agreed on the framework of their separation (meaning that they've agreed upon assets, property, child custody, and the like).

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Below, you'll find instructions and help for both no-fault and uncontested divorce. 

Uncontested Divorce in New York

Uncontested divorce in New York exists when both spouses want to get divorced and they agree completely upon the separation of finances and/or children. In most cases if the couple already has children, they already have a court order that dictates the placement of the child.  If you and your spouse are in agreement about the terms of your divorce, consider completing the Divorce Settlement Agreement using Rocket Lawyer’s easy interview processes. Writing a Divorce Settlement Agreement can help clarify the intentions of both parties in preparation for the remainder of the process, as well as detail the division of property, debts and assets.

Keep in mind that any agreement deemed unfair or unreasonable by the Court can be rejected. For example, New York follows strict standards for fair division of assets and debts. Despite the agreement of both parties to waive spousal support or maintenance payment, the Court may deem spousal support necessary if there is a disparity in the earning or earning potential of the spouses.  For complete and detailed instructions on how to file for an uncontested divorce please see the New York State Unified Court System’s Divorce Resources.

Basic Instructions for Completing a Divorce in New York:

  1. The Plaintiff files the Summons and Complaint or Summons with Notice with the county clerk. In the process of filing, the plaintiff must buy an Index Number ($210).
  2. The Plaintiff then serves the defendant with the Summons within 120 days of filing it at the county clerk’s office.
  3. If a notice of No Necessity is filed by both parties, then the Plaintiff has 120 days to file the Request for Judicial Intervention (RJI). However, if the Notice of No Necessity is not filed by both parties then the Plaintiff has 45 days to file the RJI.
  4. Next, the Net Worth Statement must be exchanged between the plaintiff and the defendant. This must be filed no later than 10 days prior to the preliminary conference.
  5. A preliminary conference must be held within 45 days of the assignment of the RJI and in this conference both parties must be present.
  6. After this conference a compliance conference must be scheduled. Both parties must be present unless the court decides otherwise. However, the court may deem that the compliance conference is not necessary.
  7. Note of Issue must then be filed, and then a trial date should be scheduled. The scheduling of the trial date should occur no later than 6 months from the date of the preliminary conference.
  8. From here begins the Deposition and the post-judgment activity. What should occur is a settlement, or if the divorce is strongly contested by either the plaintiff or the defendant, it should be sent to trial.
  9. If the case goes to trial it can be long and very emotionally taxing. The final judgment will decide how the plaintiff and defendant go about their post judgment activities, and the settlement will dictate the grounds and agreements of the divorce.

Other sources that might help you make decisions on what forms you should be filling out or filing are the New York State Uncontested Divorce Forms Packet Instructions, and the New York State Contested Divorce Flowchart. Please remember that is just a basic outline of what divorce in New York looks like. However, in reality, once the Summons forms are served and sent, there are many various forms that might need to be filled out depending on the case, children, property and other factors.

When all the necessary forms are completed and filed, you'll receive a Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage.  Fill out the New York State Case Registry Filing Form. If you have minor children, you'll need to complete a UCS Child Support Summary Form.

If you need help filing for divorce, you can use Rocket Lawyer to Find a Lawyer who's right for you.

Get started Visit our Divorce Center Get divorce documents and ask a lawyer your questions.

Get started Visit our Divorce Center Get divorce documents and ask a lawyer your questions.