Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in New York

Answers from experienced attorneys in Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island

If you are wondering how to get divorced in New York or about any other aspect of New York divorces, Simonetti & Associates can help. Our goal is to educate and inform you, so you can make the best decisions for your family. With more than 25 years of experience, our knowledgeable divorce attorneys provide answers to questions regarding divorce in New York:

  • Who can file for divorce in New York?
  • What are the residency requirements for divorce in New York?
  • Do I have to prove fault to get a divorce?
  • Do I need a lawyer?
  • What happens if I cannot pay my bills during my divorce because my spouse was the primary breadwinner?
  • How is custody determined?
  • Since filing for divorce, my spouse does not let me see our children. What can I do?
  • What can I ask for in my divorce?
  • Can a divorce agreement be changed?

Contact the Long Island, NY divorce law firm that gives you value for your money

If you are looking for quality legal representation at an affordable price, contact Simonetti & Associates. Our main office is in Woodbury, and we have a second office in downtown New York. With more than 29 years of experience, we work diligently to solve your family law disputes as quickly and efficiently as possible. We offer flexible scheduling and return calls after hours to accommodate your busy life. To arrange a free initial consultation, call 877-385-2560 or contact us online.


Who can file for divorce in New York?

To file for divorce in New York, you must meet the state residency requirements. New York allows same-sex couples to separate or divorce in the same ways and under the same rules as heterosexual couples.

What are the residency requirements for divorce in New York?

A plaintiff may file for divorce in New York if any of the following statements apply:

  • The couple was married in New York and at least one spouse has been a resident for a continuous period of one year prior to filing.
  • The couple has lived in New York as husband and wife and either party has resided in the state for a continuous period of one year prior to filing.
  • Either party has been a resident of New York for a continuous period of at least two years prior to filing.

Do I have to prove fault to get a divorce?

New York is a no-fault state, which means you can get divorced without proving your spouse did anything specific to undermine your marriage. In a no-fault case, the grounds for divorce are an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least six months, meaning that the marriage relationship is past any hope of repair.

Do I need a lawyer?

While you have no obligation to hire an attorney, a good divorce lawyer can save you time and money and reduce frustration in the long run. If you are not satisfied with your current representation, call us to discuss how we can help you transition seamlessly to our firm.

What happens if I cannot pay my bills during the divorce because my spouse was the primary breadwinner?

During divorce proceedings, the court can order temporary child support or temporary spousal maintenance. This provides financial support until the court issues a final judgment in your divorce. The final judgment may continue spousal support after the divorce, although there are no guarantees. However, the final judgment consummates the division of assets so you can begin rebuilding your financial stability.

How is custody determined?

Judges consider a number of factors when deciding who gets custody of the children. These include:

  • The strength of each parent’s relationship and bond with the children
  • Which parent is the primary caregiver for the children
  • Which parent is most likely to encourage visitation with the other parent
  • Whether each parent is physically and mentally capable of caring for the child

Previous domestic violence, neglect, abuse and other negative actions can weigh heavily against a parent seeking custody.

Since filing for divorce, my spouse refuses to let me see our children. What can I do?

Sadly, in many divorce cases where custody is an issue, one parent will attempt to withhold the children from the other parent. At the same time, that parent may seek to improperly influence the children with negative comments and disparaging remarks about the other parent in an attempt to damage the relationship between them. This is known as parental alienation. To enforce your parental rights, we can seek an order of temporary custody or visitation until your divorce is finalized. If you do nothing, you risk letting your relationship with your children deteriorate.

What can I ask for in my divorce?

You have the right to ask the court to grant several different forms of relief in your divorce, including child custody, child support, alimony, equitable distribution of property and orders of protection.

Can a divorce agreement be changed?

Yes. If your life circumstances change substantially, you may request a modification of your divorce settlement agreement or divorce decree. A proficient family law attorney can assist you with obtaining the modification.