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What are the requirements for divorce in New York?

Couples who are considering divorcing in New York should be aware of the specific requirements that apply to this legal process in their state. Most important among these: You must be a resident of the state of New York before you can pursue dissolution of marriage. Knowing the basic legal requirements before you begin your divorce can help you avoid divorce legal issues that could cost you valuable resources and time.

Do I need to have a reason for divorcing my spouse?

In New York, it is necessary to explain your reason for pursuing a divorce. This is known as the "grounds" for divorce. Among those legally acceptable reasons for divorcing: adultery, irretrievable breakdown of the relationship, abandonment and even confinement in prison for a period of three or more years at a time.

Now that I have given my reason for divorcing, I can speed through the process, right?

Not so fast. Although some couples may be able to proceed through an amicable breakup -- often called "uncontested" -- you and your spouse may have to hash out some of your differences. Contested divorces include those in which one spouse does not want the divorce, disagrees with the listed grounds for divorce or disagrees with proposed property distribution or child custody agreements.

What happens now?

After you have determined your grounds for divorce and decided whether you intend to contest the matter, you can begin to survey your legal options. For example, some couples benefit from collaborative divorce methods, which focus more on negotiation than on adversarial approaches. However, in some cases, litigation can be the best way to resolve your divorce dispute. A qualified family attorney can help you identify the right strategy for your individual divorce needs.

Source: New York State Unified Court System, "Divorce Information & Frequently Asked Questions" Oct. 28, 2014

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