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There are two basic types of Divorce in New York, Contested and Uncontested. In a Contested Divorce, the married couple either does not agree on getting a Divorce, or do not agree on the terms of the divorce. The parties will appear in Court to resolve the issues by agreement or trial. In an Uncontested Divorce the parties agree on the terms, and the divorce is submitted on papers, and no one has to appear in Court.
When you and your spouse physically separate, one thing you can do is enter into a Separation Agreement. A Separation Agreement is a written contract between you and your Spouse that resolves all issues of the marriage including Maintenance, Child Support, Custody, Visitation, and the Division of Marital Property. If the parties later wish to get Divorced, the Separation Agreement can serve as Grounds for Divorce.
Family Court has jurisdiction to handle cases involving unwed parents and children such as paternity, child custody, child visitation, child support, adoption, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, guardianship, juvenile delinquency, and persons in need of supervision (PINS). Family Court is also the appropriate venue to resolve issues among members of your family that involve domestic violence.
Whether you want to know how much Maintenance is payable in a Divorce or how much Child Support is payable, the following are links to the easy to use NYS Child Support Calculator and the NYS Maintenance Calculator. These calculators will help you get an idea of how much support is payable in Divorce Court and Family Court in New York State.
If the Divorce is Contested the Divorce is started by one party (Plaintiff) serving the other party (Defendant) with Divorce Papers. The Defendant will have 20 days to answer the action (30 days if served out of state). If the Defendant fails to answer, the Plaintiff my take a Default against the Defendant. If the Defendant answers, the Plaintiff will file a Request for Judicial Intervention (RJI) and the parties will appear in Court to try and work out a deal. If the parties are unable to resolve all of the issues of the marriage, those issues that can't be resolved will be decided by the Judge after trial.
If the Divorce is Uncontested, see the Uncontested Divorce Frequently Asked Questions page to find out all of the steps to complete an Uncontested Divorce.
The cost depends whether the divorce is Contested or Uncontested (whether the parties agree or not).
In all Divorces the Court Costs for a Divorce in the State of New York are $350.00.
Attorney fees for a CONTESTED DIVORCE (parties can't agree on terms) vary widely depending on the circumstances. Some lawyers require an initial retainer of $5,000.00 or more, while others as little as $2500.00.
Attorney fees for an UNCONTESTED DIVORCE are less because the parties do not have to appear in Court. If you and your spouse have a verbal agreement regarding the terms of your divorce visit my uncontested divorce website.