Divorce in New York – Your Complete Starter Guide

divorce in new york
Worthy Staff

By Worthy Staff | Jul 18th, 2019

Divorce is a process – both legal and emotional – and can seem overwhelming and scary. But equipping yourself with the right knowledge and getting your expectations in order can help ease the whole experience. Let’s get started.

New York Divorce Court

In New York, the Supreme Court handles all divorce cases. A Supreme Court judge is the only judge who can sign a Judgment of Divorce, thereby ending a marriage. Divorces may be contested or uncontested. Divorcing couples must address any issues concerning visitation, child support, and custody. Until the resolution of all parenting and financial matters, a Supreme Court judge will not sign a Judgment of Divorce.

Couples may choose to use ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution), various processes that include mediation and collaborative law whereby both sides work together to solve any conflicts which may exist.

What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce in New York?

When divorcing in New York, a couple must meet the state’s residency requirements. These include how long you or your spouse has lived in New York and whether the couple has legal grounds to get a divorce. You must also know where your spouse is to get a divorce in New York. Service, the delivery of court papers, must be made directly to the Defendant. If the location of a spouse is unknown, you must consult with the Supreme Court Clerk’s office regarding alternative ways to serve them.

Uncontested Divorce in New York

Divorcing in New York is often complicated. For uncontested divorces where no children under 21 exist, couples may take advantage of the DIY Uncontested Divorce Program. Divorcing couples who have children under 21 years of age may use the Uncontested Divorce Packet. Couples seeking a contested divorce should consult with a lawyer first. It may take many visits to the New York Supreme Court before resolving any disputed issues and receiving a Judgment of Divorce.

Child Visitation Rights for Divorce in New York

Courts generally favor a child having a relationship with both parents. When the Court grants sole custody to one parent, the Court will usually also give the other parent visitation time. Although visitation and custody are separate issues, the Court typically decides them at the same hearing in conjunction with one another. A parent may, however, file a petition for visitation separately. When determining visitation, also referred to as parenting time, the Court uses the “best interests of the child” standard. In addition to parents, grandparents and siblings may request visitation. Except in situations where the court terminated visiting rights, parents have a right to see a child in foster care. Unless parents can agree on a visitation schedule, a court will determine it for them.

How Does Child and Spousal Support for Divorce in New York Work?

Family Court presides over matters involving the child and spousal support.

Child Support – In New York, both parents must provide child support until the child reaches 21 years of age unless emancipated. An emancipated child refers to a child who is under 21 years of age, married or a member of the military. The custodial parent, the parent who is charged with physical custody of the child most of the time, can receive child support from the non-custodial parent irrespective of whether the custodial parent has the means to support the child on their own or the parents live together and one parent refuses to pay on their own. If the child is in foster care, both parents must pay child support.

Spousal Support – While married, couples in New York must financially support each other. The support is called spousal support. As long as the couple is married, spousal support can continue indefinitely. Where spouses are divorced or in the process of divorcing, the support one spouse pays to the other is called maintenance.

Custody for Divorce in New York

A Custody Order assigns the responsibility of caring for and raising a child to the parent(s) or a third party. Custody is either legal or physical. A Court has the discretion to make decisions about custody up until the child turns 18 years of age. When determining child custody, the Court uses the “best interest of the child” standard. In the absence of a court order, both parents enjoy equal rights to legal and physical custody.

Legal custody refers to the authority to make decisions involving a child’s medical care and what religion the child will practice. Legal custody may be joint or sole. If a Court grants joint custody, parents make major decisions together. Where one parent has sole custody, that parent may make such decisions without consulting the other parent.

The parent with physical or residential custody is responsible for the physical care and supervision of the child. Physical custody may be joint or sole. Joint custody means the child lives with each parent 50 percent of the time. Sole custody is when the child lives with one parent more than 50 percent of the time. Where one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent will generally have visitation.

Insights From Jumping In: Dating After Divorce in 2019

In 2019, Worthy conducted a study on how divorce women approach divorce and dating in today’s world.

Age of Today’s Divorced Woman
Of the women we surveyed, 42% divorced between the ages of 35-44 and 28% between 45-54, indicating that midlife is the most common time for marriages to break up. Only 9% divorced after the age of 55 and the younger women, 34 and under, made up 22%.

Divorce Proceedings in the 21st Century
We asked our participants to share what legal processes they were familiar with for divorce. Litigation (53%) and mediation (48%) were at the top of the list but many were also familiar with alternative routes such as low-conflict collaborative divorce (25%). Services like working with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst are much less well-known (5%).

Divorce Finances 101
When it came to the big issues, the majority of women felt sufficiently informed to make decisions. This included issues like health insurance (60%) and the marital house (56%). However, when it came to issues outside of the immediate household, such as taxes, the participants felt less informed.Reusable Block

Dating After Divorce
Dating is at the forefront of many divorcees’ minds. 78% of the women have already started thinking about dating by the time the divorce papers are signed. 40% of women feel confident about dating after divorce, 68% feel excited and hopeful. 59% of divorced women meet dates on online dating websites or apps.

Getting Divorced the Better Way

Getting divorced in New York doesn’t have to be complicated and expensive anymore. Our friends at It’s Over Easy provide a smart and easy way to get an uncontested divorce online. Founded by celebrity divorce lawyer Laura A. Wasser, It’s Over Easy is the only online divorce solution that guides you through every aspect of your case.

“After practicing Family Law for over 20 years I came to realize that people deserve a better way to get divorced. I founded It’s Over Easy to give people a high-quality, less expensive & more amicable option. Our platform takes the user through the entire dissolution process. We provide information and support along the way through our content on our Insights Blog, the Divorce Sucks! Podcast and The Index, our curated professional and lifestyle resource guide. Divorce is difficult but the legal part shouldn’t have to be.” 
–Laura A. Wasser


New York Divorce Resources

To have the most positive experience possible, take care to hire a skilled and experienced divorce attorney in whom you can place your confidence and feel comfortable being around. Visit www.NYCourts.gov for further information about divorcing in New York.

Here’s a list with resources you’ll need to get through your divorce as smoothly as possible:

Focus Area OrganizationWebsite

National Association of
Divorce Professionals


Certified Divorced


Association of
Financial Planners



How Worthy Can Help

Financing divorce, regardless of how careful you are, is an expensive proposition. So, too, is rebuilding your life post-divorce, including furthering your education and moving into a new home, in addition to a plethora of other expenses that may be new for you now that you are single. Worthy can assist you in meeting your financial goals by providing you with the safest and most effective means possible to sell your jewelry for the highest price possible in the marketplace. Why let valuable assets like your diamond engagement ring that you no longer wear sit idle in a draw when the funds from its sale can be working for you to ensure a brighter future? Worthy is here for you when you are ready, supporting you with vital information about divorce, including personal accounts from those who have survived and thrived afterward, and, of course, providing you with the most trusted online auction platform in the industry.

Selling your jewelry can be a great way to purge old energy from your bad marriage, as well as serve you financially for your goals post-divorce. And in addition to our stellar marketplace, you can enjoy our blog to read inspirational stories from women who have been through every stage of divorce and back. You can also listen while you’re on the go to our podcast, “Divorce & Other Things You Can Handle.”

Divorce process guide for main US states

Legal Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice on any subject matter. Consult with an attorney for more information regarding your individual situation.

Worthy Staff

Worthy Staff

The Worthy Blog is a place for inspiration, insight, and advice for all things surrounding life's greatest transitions - divorce, losing a loved one, retirement, and so much more. You can find us on our blog, Instagram, and Facebook.


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