Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Do I need grounds to file for divorce in New York?
As of 2010, you no longer need grounds to file for divorce. Now, you can
file on no fault grounds by claiming "irreconcilable differences."
Prior to the change in New York's divorce laws, however, a couple
would only be able to divorce if one of the following was true:
- Cruel and inhuman treatment
- Abandonment for at least 1 year
- Living apart by means of legal separation
- Imprisonment for at least 3 years
Q: What is a separation agreement?
A separation agreement is obtained through a court judgment or is agreed
upon by both parties wanting to legally separate. It is similar to a divorce
in that issues such as child custody, visitation, child support, maintenance
and property division will need to be worked out. In some cases, a separation
agreement may be used to dictate the terms of a divorce as well.
Q: Can I represent myself?
Yes. You can represent yourself if you choose to do so, but divorce law
is complex and thus it is recommended that you hire professional representation.
The outcome of your divorce or separation will greatly affect your life
for years to come. If you try to represent yourself and do not fully understand
the law or what you can do to protect your interests, you may stand to
Q: If I was married in another state, can I still get divorced in New York?
There are specific time restrictions involved if you were married in another
state and wish to commence your divorce action in New York. Generally
speaking, you or your spouse must have been a resident of New York for
a continuous period of two years prior to filing for divorce. However,
if the grounds for divorce occurred in New York and you and your spouse
were both residents at the time of the commencement of the divorce or
separation, you may file for divorce at that time. There are other options
as well, so it is best to discuss this with your lawyer.
Q: Can I modify the terms of my child support post-divorce?
Yes, it is possible to seek a modification of child support after your
divorce has been finalized; however, you must be able to show that a significant
change in circumstances has made a modification necessary. For example,
you may be able to request a readjustment of your child support if:
- Your child begins living with you full time
- Your child becomes legally emancipated
- Your child's medical or educational needs have changed
- You have been forced to take a lower paying job
Q: How long will it take to get divorced?
Depending upon your particular case, it may take anywhere from 30 days
(for an uncontested divorce) to up to 1 to 3 years (for a complex, contested divorce).
Contact a Westchester County divorce lawyer today to have all of your pressing divorce questions answered by an experienced attorney.