What documents are needed to complete a New York divorce uncontested or contested?
An uncontested divorce is a divorce where there are no disagreements between both spouses over financial or other issues related to the divorce, such as child custody or division of property; as the name implies, the spouse of the person filing for divorce must either agree to the divorce or fail to appear in the legal action process associated with it. You should keep in mind that even if you sue for divorce and believe that it will be uncontested, your spouse will decide to contest the case. Contested and uncontested divorces are different in terms of the procedures that need to be undergone and the paperwork that needs to be filled out, so it is a good idea to learn about both situations, in case either of them end up being your situation when you file.
If you are filing for an uncontested divorce in the state of New York, you will have to go through the Supreme Court in order to handle your case. You will need to make sure your papers are properly signed and notarized, and you will need to file certain forms with the County Clerk’s office. These forms include your Summons With Notice or Summons and Complaint, Notice Concerning Continuation of Health Care Coverage, Notice of Automatic Orders, and Settlement Agreement, if you happen to have one in your situation.
If you do not have any children under the age of 21, and your marriage has been over for a minimum of 6 months, you will be able to use the DIY Uncontested Divorce Program in order to put your papers together. If you do happen to have children under age 21, you will need to use the paper Uncontested Divorce Packet.
Additionally, you should keep in mind that the county clerk may end up requiring additional documents and forms from you. Depending on which county you reside in, you may be able to file the papers over the internet using the New York State Courts Electronic Filing System. Otherwise, you will have to file your papers at the County Clerk’s office, where you will also end up having to pay your fees and where the case files are going to be kept for the use of the Supreme Court. You will also need to serve the defendant with divorce papers. Additionally, you should keep in mind that an index number will cost $210; this is the number assigned to your case and should be present on all of the papers that you file. An uncontested divorce will cost $335 at the minimum when you consider all court and filing fees. However, you should also keep in mind that this does not include the fees that you will have to pay an attorney, in addition to notary fees, photocopies, mailing, process server fees, transportation, and any other fees that you would have to pay. For all of this, it would be best to consult with an attorney so that you will know exactly what to do at each step of the process and not make mistakes that could cost you your case.
If you file for divorce and it ends up being contested, or it is contested from the very beginning, the case becomes somewhat more complicated. A contested divorce can involve one of the parties protesting the divorce as a whole or protesting some aspect of the legal separation, which can be financial or related to child custody or any other issue. In this case, the plaintiff will have to prepare, file, and deliver the divorce petition, and the defendant will have to respond to it. They will then have to engage in the discovery process, as well as various pre-trial hearings and legal motions. They will have to attempt to settle, and then they will have to go to trial if the settlement does not work. Essentially, there is a great deal more paperwork that needs to be filled out in this case, because of the added complexity of the conflict between the spouses that is present in the case of a contested divorce. You should certainly speak to an attorney to figure out exactly what papers you will need to complete for the proceedings, because you do want to make sure that you do not miss anything and end up with a weaker case because of it.
In any case, it would be a very smart idea to meet with an attorney in order to make sure you are covering all of your bases. Even if you fill out all of the basic forms, you may need to fill out another form that you do not fill out because you are simply not aware of how it applies to your special circumstances. As such, it is good to consult someone with the legal expertise to be able to let you know if you are missing anything while you are completing the process.