Couples who are considering divorce, but have no disagreements over financial or divorce-related issues have the option of filing for an uncontested divorce, which can save the parties a significant amount of time and money in the long run. Although uncontested divorces are simpler than contested divorces, they still require the submission of specific financial records and other legal documents. As such, if you or a loved one is considering a divorce and have questions or concerns about the filing process, it is important to contact an experienced divorce attorney who can ensure that you submit the appropriate documentation and forms by the necessary deadlines.
For a person to be eligible to file for an uncontested divorce, one of the following categories must apply:
- There are no disagreements between the parties over financial matters, child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, or the division of marital property;
- Both spouses agree to the divorce; or
- One of the spouses fails to appear in the divorce action.
If a couple falls under one of these categories then they may be able to file for an uncontested divorce as long as they fulfill the other standard divorce requirements, which include:
- Residency in New York; and
- Legal grounds for divorce.
To fulfill New York’s residency requirement, one of the spouses must have lived in New York for at least two years prior to the divorce proceedings. Alternatively, this requirement can be satisfied if both spouses were living in the state on the date that divorce proceedings started and:
- The marriage ceremony was performed in New York; or
- Both parties lived as a married couple in the state.
Finally, the residency requirement will be satisfied if:
- One of the spouses has been living in New York for at least a year and the grounds for divorce occurred in the state; or
- Both spouses are residents of New York and the legal reason for divorce also occurred in the state.
Grounds for Divorce
Finally, the couple must have a valid reason for divorce, which could be any of the following:
- The marriage has been irretrievably broken for the last six months;
- Cruel and inhumane treatment;
- Adultery; and
- The couple has been living separate and apart.
In most cases where a couple is seeking an uncontested divorce, the legal ground for divorce will be the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, as this option does not assign fault or blame. Only one of the parties is required to swear under oath that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
After the standard divorce, requirements have been met, and the couple has agreed on all property division issues, they can file for an expedited uncontested divorce if:
- Both parties are over the age of 18 years old;
- The couple have no children under the age of 21 years old; and
- The marriage has been over for at least six months and cannot be saved.
Although uncontested divorces are generally simpler and less time-consuming, they still require the parties to gather specific information, including contact information for all of the parties
as well as a record indicating the date and place of the couple’s marriage. The parties will also need to attach a settlement agreement, which explains how personal property, assets, and debts will be divided. However, if a couple has any complex investments or retirement accounts, it is especially important that they retain an attorney who can ensure that everything is legally divided.
Contact a Dedicated Syracuse Divorce Attorney Today
Filing for an uncontested divorce may be a good option for couples who do not have children, agree on the division of property, and who will comply with court orders and deadlines. Unfortunately, many couples who attempt filing for an uncontested divorce end up facing issues down the road concerning child custody or spousal maintenance. This can delay proceedings and require additional court hearings, the submission of parenting plan proposals, and the payment of more filing fees. For this reason, it is important to go over your case with an attorney before filing for divorce, so if you live in Syracuse and believe that you may qualify for an uncontested divorce, please contact the legal team at the Bombardo Law Office, P.C. at your earliest convenience. You can reach us by calling 315-488-5555 or by completing one of our standard contact forms, including your name, how you wish to be contacted, and a brief message describing your case. A member of our legal team will contact you as soon as possible to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced divorce attorney who can explain your options.