Do It Yourself Divorce in New York: Complete Your Own Divorce

woman signing documents for divorce

DIY New York divorce is a popular choice among couples looking for a way to reduce legal assistance expenses, which usually constitute the major part of the total divorce cost. However, it is essential to remember that New York state DIY divorce is more common for uncontested no-fault marriage dissolutions when spouses have reached a mutual agreement regarding all divorce-related issues. For complex contested cases, it is recommended to use an attorney’s service.

To start the filing process, spouses must first complete all the necessary forms, either by themselves or with the help of an online service. If you are looking for a fast and cheap way to get printable divorce papers in NY that will be relevant to your specific case, then using an online service is an optimal solution. 

Steps for a DIY Uncontested Divorce in New York

When it comes to divorce, many people assume that it is inevitably a costly and traumatic experience. In fact, it is not always like that. There are a few rules on how to get a stress-free New York do-it-yourself divorce at a reasonable price. As long as you follow them, filing for divorce in NY without a lawyer will not be a problem. 

1) See if You Qualify for Divorce

man checking if he qualified for divorce in New York

The first step before filing the petition for divorce is to check if you meet the residency requirements. In New York, it means the following:

  • At least one of the parties is a state resident for a minimum of two years.
  • One of the spouses has been a resident of the state for one year, and either the marriage was registered in this state, the married couple lives in New York, or the ground for divorce took place there.
  • Both spouses are residents of the state, and the ground for marriage dissolution has happened in New York.

The court will decline the petition if these residency requirements are not met.

2) Make Sure Your Divorce Isn't Contested

couple discussing their divorce

The next step on the way to a do-it-yourself divorce is to determine that you and your partner are in mutual agreement on all divorce-related issues, like alimony, assets and property division, child care and child support in New York, etc. It is an important condition of an uncontested divorce, so it is necessary to cooperate with your spouse when making final decisions on all matters. If you disagree on at least one of them, the divorce becomes contested. In such a case, do-it-yourself divorce in New York may not be an option, and the spouses will have to hire lawyers to represent them in court. As a consequence, the divorce price will rise, and the duration of the divorce may increase significantly.

3) Decide on Your Grounds for Divorce

man deciding on grounds for divorce

Another important step to start the divorce process in New York is to determine the legal grounds for divorce. New York divorce law recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for dissolution of marriage. No-fault legal grounds for divorce in New York include an irretrievable relationship breakdown for at least a six-month period, which is the most common reason for a DYI divorce, or a valid legal separation agreement when spouses live apart for one year. No-fault divorce means that none of the parties is to blame for marriage termination.

4) Get Clear About Health Insurance Coverage

man discussing health insurance coverage with wife

According to New York state insurance laws, divorcing parties should acknowledge the fact that healthcare will no longer be covered by the spouse’s insurance plan after the dissolution of marriage. This relates to the situation when a non-working spouse benefits from the insurance plan of their working partner. It is common, however, that children stay under health insurance coverage after their parents’ divorce, so spouses should decide on the issue of child insurance before applying for a do-it-yourself divorce.

5) Fill Out the New York Divorce Forms

man filling out forms for divorce

An essential step of the pre-filing stage of divorce is completing the paperwork to file with the court. Couples that choose a do-it-yourself divorce in New York have two options on how to arrange it. The first one is to find and download divorce forms from the Internet and fill them out by themselves. It may be overwhelming and time-consuming for people without knowledge of the laws. Moreover, mistakes in paperwork can lead to unwanted outcomes of divorce or even turn an uncontested dissolution of marriage into a contested one. 

An alternative solution is to work with our reliable online service. It is easy to use, and you don’t have to worry about the accuracy of the documents. Once you register on the website and complete a questionnaire, you will soon receive the forms to file with the court. It eliminates the risk of overlooking some important details in the paperwork that may result in unnecessary expenses or prolong the divorce process. It is important to mention that the papers are different for couples with or without children; however, the price is the same for both packages. Moreover, you will get comprehensive step-by-step filing instructions and 24/7 support.

6) Submit Completed Forms to the County Clerk

man submitting divorce documents to court

Once you complete, print, and sign all the necessary forms, the next step is to file them with the clerk’s office in the county where you reside. Another option is to file the paperwork online; however, it is recommended to check in advance if online filing is available in your county.

The list of forms varies depending on the specifics of the divorce case. As a rule, it includes the following documents:

  • Summons with a Notice,
  • Verified Complaint,
  • Notice Concerning Continuation of Health Care Coverage,
  • Affidavit of Service,
  • Settlement Agreement, etc.

A spouse who initiates a divorce is called a petitioner, and they are responsible for paying the filing fees unless they are unable to do so due to low income. In such situations, it is possible to file for a fee waiver. 

Once the paperwork is filed with the court, a petitioner should serve the respondent with copies of the original documents within 120 days. It can be done with the help of a process server, a person who is a New York resident of 18 years or older.

The respondent must file the Answer with the clerk within a 20-day period after being served.

7) Sign the Divorce Judgment

wife signing the divorce judgement

Next, you will have to wait for the court to sign the Divorce Judgment. There is no mandatory minimum waiting period in New York. However, due to the busy schedule, it may take the court some time to review and sign your paperwork. Usually, uncontested divorce in New York takes 60-90 days.  

8) Complete Your Notice of Entry Requirement

husband giving signed divorce paperwork to wife

The last step required to officially finalize a do-it-yourself in New York is to complete the Notice of Entry Form and serve the respondent with the signed paperwork. The petitioner must also notify the court that the respondent received copies of all the documents. Once it is done, you and your spouse are considered divorced.