Legal Guide

How long does it take to get divorced in NY?

In the state of New York, an uncontested divorce can be resolved in three months on average. However, separate cases depend on the circumstances. Some cases can be resolved in six weeks or less. Complex cases can take up to a year to resolve. 

Because there is no one-size-fits-all divorce, there is no standard timeline. For this reason and more, you need to contact a Manhattan Divorce Lawyer to represent you to navigate the process quickly and easily.

What is the difference between a Contested Divorce and an Uncontested One?

A contested divorce is when the parties disagree on the terms of the separation. Uncontested divorce, also known as mutual divorce, is when both spouses agree to the end of their marriage and all terms of the divorce. 

What could delay the uncontested divorce process?

Couples who claim to have "agreed upon everything" often cannot agree on everything. This can lead to litigation, court, legal fees, and a significantly longer divorce process.

The timeline may vary depending on where you file and the court calendar. This could also affect the cooperation between spouses. Other points that may cause conflict include property, investment/retirement assets, or other items of significant value.

How long will my New York Divorce take?

The average New York divorce process takes three months if the case is uncontested and nine months if it's contested. It is hard to predict how long it will take for your divorce to be completed, even if the matter is uncontested.

Uncontested Divorce Procedure in New York

Two conditions must be met before you can file for divorce. You must first meet residency requirements, which you can find out more about in the official resources. You and your spouse must also agree on the terms of the divorce.

There are seven reasons that the court accepts for any divorce.

  • Imprisonment
  • Adultery
  • Cruel and Inhumane Treatment
  • Abandonment
  • Divorce after a Legal Separation, Divorce
  • Divorce following a Judgement of Separation
  • Irretrievable

An Unretrievable divorce is also known as "no fault". It means you and your spouse have agreed that your marriage has ended after at least six months, and all financial matters, including those relating to property and assets, have been agreed upon. This is the most relevant ground for an uncontested divorce.

Step 1 - Filing

A summons must first be filed at the office of the county court to initiate the process. The summons is an announcement to a defendant that a complaint has already been filed against them. A summons that includes a notice is simply an announcement of the filing of a specific case.

These forms can be submitted online in certain counties. Check to see if your county offers e-filing. 

Step 2 - Serving

Serving means that the defendant (or the person who is not initiating the divorce) must be made aware of the fact that the process has started. This can be done by personally "serving" the summons to the defendant.

The plaintiff has three months from the date the summons was filed with the court to arrange for delivery. The plaintiff cannot, however, deliver the news himself. 

Step 3 - Defendant's Reply

After the defendant is served with notice, they have three options to respond:

  • The defendant signs an "Affidavit of Defendant" agreeing to the divorce.
  • The plaintiff is served by the defendant who "answers". They contest the divorce. You will need to consult a lawyer if you want to make the next step.
  • The defendant is considered to have "defaulted" if he or she does not respond within 40 days after being served.

Step 4: Calendaring

The process continues to the calendaring stage if the defendant agrees or not. This is when the case can be reviewed by a judge. Several documents must be completed, notarized, and submitted. These papers can be filed with the county clerk. However, you will need to double-check the procedures of your county. These papers can be filed for a fee of approximately $125.

Step 5 - Judgment

If all papers are completed and filed correctly, and the judge decides that the divorce is uncontested, they will sign a "Judgment of Divorce." Make sure you check with your county. The defendant must then be served with a second time. Finally, the defendant must be served again.

How Quickly Can I Get a No-Fault Divorce in NY?

You can file for an uncontested, no-fault divorce if both of you agree to proceed with the divorce proceedings

The process can be completed in six weeks if everything goes according to plan. However, divorces can take many months to resolve if there are disagreements or mistakes. It all depends on your case. An experienced attorney can assist you in completing the process efficiently and quickly.


It is easy to see why most divorce proceedings take longer than three months. There are so many steps and so many possible stumbling blocks. If your situation is complicated, you should consult a lawyer. 

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