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Divorce Laws in New York

Common law marriage cannot occur in the State of New York, but couples who live in New York can obtain a common law marriage, by traveling to a State that does recognize common law marriage and meeting the requirements for common law marriage in that State, for as little as one night.

Residency and jurisdiction in New York
In order to meet residency requirements to file for divorce in New York, one of the following conditions must exist:

  • Both spouses live in New York (for any amount of time) and the cause for divorce occurred in the State
  • One spouse has lived in New York for at least one year and the cause for divorce occurred in the State
  • At least one spouse has lived in New York for at least two years
  • At least one spouse has lived in New York for at least one year and the couple was married in the State
  • At least one spouse has lived in New York for at least one year and the couple lived together as husband and wife in the State

Fault or no fault and grounds for divorce in New York
In New York, no fault divorce is only granted after a legal separation for at least one year. Fault divorce is granted on the following grounds:

  • Cruel and inhumane treatment
  • Abandonment for at least one year
  • Imprisonment for at least three years
  • Adultery

Division of property in New York
New York is an "equitable distribution" State meaning the property is not divided 50/50, but rather in a manner that the court deems fair to both parties. The court will honor any agreements between spouses. When dividing property the court must consider:

  • Length of marriage
  • Age and health
  • Income and property of each spouse at the time of marriage and at the time of divorce
  • Child custody
  • Loss of inheritance and retirement benefits
  • Spousal support
  • Contributions to property including contributions as homemaker, parent, and contributions to the career of the other spouse
  • Probable future financial circumstances
  • Tax consequences
  • Inappropriate dissipation or transfer of assets

Spousal support in New York
Spousal support in New York may be temporary or permanent. When determining the amount and duration of support the court must consider:

  • Length of marriage
  • Age and health
  • Property division
  • Present and future earning capacity
  • Ability of spouse seeking support to become self supporting and the length of time necessary to do so
  • Damage to earning capacity caused by the marriage due to giving up or delaying education, training, employment, or career opportunities
  • Parenting responsibilities
  • Tax consequences
  • Contributions to the marriage including contributions as homemaker, and contributions to the career of the other spouse
  • Inappropriate dissipation or transfer of marital assets

Child custody and support in New York
When the court must determine which parent will have child custody, the best interest of the child is the primary consideration. New York state law does specifically state conditions that the court must consider in determining what will be in the best interest of the child.

New York uses the Income Shares Model for calculating child support.

If you are considering or facing divorce in New York, contact an experienced New York divorce attorney today.

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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in New York and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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