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New York Divorce



To begin a divorce proceeding in New York:

  • You or your spouse must have lived in New York for two years prior to filing for divorce; or
  • You must have been married in New York, and either you or your spouse must have lived in New York for at least a year prior to filing for divorce; or
  • You and your spouse must have lived together in New York, and either you or your spouse must have lived in New York for at least one year prior to filing for the divorce; or
  • Your reason for divorce occurred in New York, and either you or your spouse lived in New York for one year prior to filing for the divorce

Grounds for Divorce

New York requires you to state a reason (called grounds) for seeking a divorce in your divorce papers. Grounds for divorce in New York include:

  • Cruelty
  • Abandonment for at least one year
  • Imprisonment for at least three years
  • Adultery within the last five years, provided the spouses did not have sexual relations after the innocent spouse learned of the adultery
  • Legal separation for at least one year

Property Division and Spousal Maintenance

In New York, all marital property, which included assets and debts acquired during the marriage, is divided "equitably" (but not necessarily equally). Separate property, which includes property acquired before the marriage and property obtained during the marriage via gift or inheritance to strictly one spouse, is not subject to equitable distribution.

Under certain conditions, the court will order alimony (commonly known as maintenance) to be paid from one spouse to the other. The length and the amount of support awarded depend on several factors, including the length of the marriage and each spouse's financial situation and earning capacity.

Child Custody and Support

New York law requires that the court make custody decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child. Generally, a parent who is not awarded custody is granted visitation rights.

In New York, child support is calculated based on both parent's combined income and the number of children being supported. Support can range from as low as 17% of combined income for one child to 29% for three children.

New York Divorce Additional Resources

The New York State Bar Association's Divorce & Separation Pamphlet

New York State Unified Court System for information about the courts in your area

New York State Vital Records for copies of marriage and divorce records

The New York State Division of Child Support Enforcement for information about collecting child support payments