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New York - Divorce Kits

New York Requirements

The following laws and guidelines are explained very briefly to provide a basic understanding. If further knowledge is wished to be gained please make use of your local library, and seek the assistance of a professional. This section is reviewed regularly, but due to the changing of laws some material may be incorrect or outdated.

Residency Requirements: S230 Domestic Relations Law

    If the cause of action arose in New York and both parties are residents at the time of commencement of the action, there is no time requirement. In all other cases the residency is either one or two years.

Filing Requirements: S304 Civil Practice Law and Rules

    Before any matrimonial action can be commenced, the summons or summons and complaint must be filed with the county clerk's office after the purchase of an index number. Service upon the defendant must be made within 120 days after the filing.

Grounds for Divorce; S170 Domestic Relations Law

    1. Adultery
    2. Cruel and Inhuman Treatment.
    3. Abandonment for one or more years.
    4. Confinement in prison for three or more consecutive years after the marriage.
    5. Living separate and apart for one or more years after the execution of a separation agreement.
    6. Living separate and apart for one or more years after a judgment of separation.

Grounds for an Action to Declare the Nullity of a Void Marriage: S5 Domestic Relations Law

    1. Bigamy
    2. Incest

Grounds for an Annulment: S7 Domestic Relations Law

    1. Nonage, The age of consent in New York is 18 for both parties.
    2. Incapable of consenting to a marriage for want of understanding.
    3. Incapable of entering into a marriage from physical cause (inability, at the time of the marriage, to have sexual relations).
    4. Consent to marriage by force or fraud.
    5. Incurable mental illness for a period of five years or more.

Grounds for judicial separation: S200 Domestic Relations Law

    1. Adultery
    2. Abandonment (no prescribed time)
    3. Cruel and Inhuman Treatment
    4. Non-support
    5. Confinement in prison for three or more consecutive years after the marriage.

Distribution of Property: S236B Domestic Relations Law

    New York is an Equitable Distribution State. All property acquired from the date of marriage to the commencement of a matrimonial action is considered marital property and is divided equitably. Title is not a determining factor. Excluded from marital property is separate property, which consists of : property acquired before the marriage; personal injury compensation; gifts from third parties or inheritances; property in exchange for separate property; property described as separate property in agreement by the parties, which agreement is either entered into before or during the marriage. Marital misconduct is generally not a factor in dividing property.

Maintenance (alimony): S236B Domestic Relations Law

    Maintenance is a payment by one spouse to the other, either pursuant to a written agreement or by court order. Maintenance can be directed for a definite period of time or an indefinite period of time. In determining the amount and duration of maintenance the court must consider the following: the income of the parties; the duration of the marriage; the future earning capacity of the parties and other factors the court deems just and proper.

Child Support: S240 Domestic Relations Law

    Child support is based upon the combined parental income of the parties and then pro-rated between the custodial and non-custodial parent. The applicable percentages are:

    1. 17% for one child
    2. 25% for two children
    3. 29% for three children
    4. 31% for four children
    5. No less than 35% for five or more children

    In addition, the court can direct additional support for child care expenses, educational expenses, and medical expenses.

Custody: S240 Domestic Relations Law

    Custody of children is determined by the standard, "best interest of the child". A child's preference will be weighed according to the age of the child. There can be no custody determination after the child reaches the age of 18. Joint custody is permitted when the circumstances warrant it.

Grandparent Visitation: S72 Domestic Relations Law

    Grandparent visitation is permitted as directed by the court.

Waiting period before remarriage after a divorce or annulment:

    There is no waiting period.


People who sue for divorce are often represented by an attorney. This packet is designed so that you may be able to represent yourself and complete your divorce without an attorney. This packet is intended for use by a person whose spouse will not contest the divorce ("uncontested divorce") and where there are no disagreements over any divorce-related issues and no complicated financial issues.

You may sue for divorce in anticipation that the proceeding will be uncontested, but discover later that your spouse has decided to fight the case. If this occurs, you may wish to consult an attorney, or you may proceed on your own without an attorney. In either situation, this packet should not be used. Many of the forms in the packet apply only to cases where your spouse either consents to a divorce, or where your spouse does not appear to oppose the divorce.

If you decide to use this packet and to represent yourself, you will not have the benefit of an attorney's expertise and advice concerning issues related to divorce proceedings, including, for example, division of marital property, liability for joint debts, child custody and support, spousal maintenance, insurance benefits, and orders of protection. You should be aware that in representing yourself, you may risk losing certain rights stemming from the marital relationship that are not readily apparent to a person that is not an attorney. For example, if your spouse is entitled to a pension at his or her job and if you do not seek your share of it in your divorce proceeding, you may lose your right to claim a share of it in the future.

In addition, if you do not know where your spouse is and you are unable to have the divorce summons served upon him or her personally, you may need the services of an attorney.

If you decide you need an attorney and you do not know of one, you should contact your local bar association for a referral to a matrimonial attorney. If you meet certain financial and other eligibility requirements, you may be able to obtain advice or representation from your local legal aid organization.

Document Example

To prepare your documents, you would simply edit the information as it applies to you.

IN RE THE MARRIAGE OF:   Case No. ____________________




COMES NOW the Petitioner, JANE DOE, and respectfully petitions and shows this Court as follows:
I.           The vital statistics concerning the parties are as follows:
          A. PETITIONER:

  1. Age: 28
  2. Occupation: Clerk
  3. Petitioner now resides at 123 Main Street, Douglas, New York 54321, County of Erie. Petitioner has been a resident of the State of New York since April 8, 1968.
          B. RESPONDENT:
  1. Age: 32
  2. Occupation: Vice President, 7-11 Convenience Stores
  3. Respondent now resides at 456 Corner Drive, Douglas, New York 54321, County of Erie. Respondent has been a resident of the State of New York since December 2, 1978.
II.           The Social Security Numbers of the parties are as follows:

          Petitioner: 555-23-9178
          Respondent: 875-12-3354.

          A. At least one of the parties has had actual residence in this state with a bona fide intention of making this state his or her permanent home for at least one year prior to the filing of this petition.
          B. The Petitioner is serving in the United States Armed Forces and has been continuously stationed at a military base or installation in this state for one year.

Document Kit Contents

Your document kit will include:
  1. Instructions for completion of your documents
  2. Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
  3. Sample Marital Settlement Agreement
  4. Financial Affidavit of Petitioner
  5. Financial Affidavit of Respondent
  6. Answer and Waiver of Hearing
  7. Verification
  8. Affidavit of Non Military Service
  9. Affidavit of Corroborating Witness
  10. Decree of Divorce
  11. Sample Proposed Property Settlement
  12. Summons
  13. Notice of Hearing
  14. Affidavit of Service
  15. Affidavit of Diligent Search for Service by Publication

    If children are involved:

  16. Affidavit of Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act
  17. Sample Parenting Plan

Important Disclaimer:
Legal-Online.Org Self-Help Products are designed to provide authoritative and accurate information in regard to the subject matter covered. However, neither this nor any other publication can take the place of an attorney on important legal matters.

Information in this kit has been carefully compiled from sources believed to be reliable, but the accuracy of the information is not guaranteed, as laws and regulations may change or be subject to differing interpretations.

This is a self-help legal product and is intended to be used by the consumer for his or her own benefit. Use of this kit to benefit a second party may be considered in many states as the unauthorized practice of law.

As with any legal matter, you should consult with an attorney if you are unsure about proceeding, your case is of a complicated nature or to obtain legal advice.

It is understood that by using this kit, you are acting as your own attorney. Accordingly, the publisher, author, distributor and retailer shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any party for any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused by use of the kits. These kits are sold with the understanding that the publisher, author, distributor and retailer are not engaged in offering legal services. Should legal services or other assistance be required, the services of a competent legal professional should be contacted in your area.

In addition, some counties or states may require use of additional documents not found in this kit. If this is the case, please contact us

We will attempt to locate the additional forms for you at no cost.

Purchase of this kit constitutes acceptance of these terms.

These documents are available in the following formats:

Microsoft Word