How to Get a Divorce
Are you wondering how to get a divorce? A divorce is the legal process by which a couple ends their marriage. Because of the legal status marriage enjoys, only a court order can end it. Generally speaking, the spouse who starts the divorce is the plaintiff, while the other spouse is the defendant.
How to Get a Divorce | Where to Get a Divorce
A large number of divorces occur in court. The New York Supreme Court is the specific court that will oversee and grant a divorce. Specifically, New York residents will need to file for divorce in the county in which they reside. For Buffalo residents, it will be the Erie County Supreme Court.
It may surprise you to know that New York’s Family Courts do not grant divorces. Rather, Family Courts usually deal with family law issues, such as child support, visitation rights, spousal support (also called maintenance), child custody and paternity issues.
Depending on how cooperative the couple will be during the divorce, divorce mediation or collaborative law could be other options. However, these out-of-court methods are not suitable for all divorces, especially those that involve abuse. These are also not suitable for spouses who are unwilling to compromise and work together to complete the divorce.
How to Get a Divorce | Requirements to Get a Divorce
Someone filing for divorce must meet two requirements before the proceedings can begin. First, the couple must meet the residency requirement. In order to get a divorce in New York, the couple must have lived in New York for at least one year, without interruption. If only one spouse lives in New York, the residency time period extends to two years.
Second, there should be grounds for divorce. New York state recognizes the following as grounds for divorce:
- Cruel and inhuman treatment
- Prison confinement that exceeds three or more consecutive years
- Legal separation
- Irretrievable breakdown lasting at least six months (also referred to as a “no fault” divorce)
The “no fault” divorce option is relatively recent, only allowed in New York state since 2010. One reason it is popular as grounds for divorce is that neither spouse must prove the other spouse did anything wrong. This makes the situation more amicable and can help keep costs down.
How to Get a Divorce | Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
A divorce is “contested” when:
- One of the spouses does not want to get a divorce.
- The couple disagree as to why a divorce should be granted.
- The couple disagrees as to how their finances, property and child responsibilities should be divided among them.
A divorce is “uncontested” when:
- Both spouses want the divorce, and
- Both spouses agree on how their finances, property and child responsibilities should be handled.
If you want to meet with an attorney to discuss how to get a divorce, please call our Buffalo divorce attorney today to schedule a consultation.