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Divorce – Contested & Uncontested

Astoria, Brooklyn and Manhattan Divorce Attorneys


Divorce can be a tumultuous time for all involved. Between the division of property and other financial questions as well as concerns over child custody and parenting time, if applicable, the process can be an overwhelming one. That’s one of the reasons why it’s vital to have good legal counsel on your side.

The team at Ortiz & Ortiz, LLP, offers clients excellent service with compassion. We’ll leverage decades of experience and legal knowledge to bring your case to a successful resolution and will uphold your rights and best interests at all times. Let us take the lead here and ensure that your divorce proceedings move forward as quickly and smoothly as possible by ensuring that all deadlines are met on time, all necessary paperwork is filed promptly, and any and all legal processes are represented successfully.

How many types of divorce are recognized in the state of New York?

There are two main types of divorces that are recognized in New York State – contested divorce and uncontested divorce. Each one has its own complexities and difficulties, so it’s important to understand which one you’re facing and how that might impact the way you move forward.

Contested Divorce

 A contested divorce in New York is a confliction of wants between the two parties. Contested divorces occur when:

  • One spouse does not want to get divorced because they believe there is still a chance for reconciliation
  • There is disagreement about the grounds or legal reasons for divorce
  • There is disagreement about child custody, finances, and any property after the divorce

A contested divorce can be emotionally-draining for both parties and requires the intervention of the court system to determine acceptable divorce terms. When there is any disagreement about any of the above factors, the divorce is considered contested. Contested divorces tend to take longer and cost more than uncontested divorces. The duration of a contested divorce is dependent on how quickly both parties can resolve their differences, make decisions on any child-related issues and settle all financial obligations.

Uncontested Divorce

In New York State, when both parties agree to divorce with no disagreements about child custody and support, property distribution, alimony, and assets, an uncontested divorce can be filed. In an uncontested divorce, the most common grounds for divorce is called “no fault”. This means the marriage has been irretrievably broken for a particular period of time but neither party is assigned primary blame for the irreconciliation. This recognizes that the marriage was simply unable to work and that this incompatibility led to its dissolution.

The duration of an uncontested divorce tends to be shorter than contested divorces because they do not usually involve court hearings or a trial. Spouses who are able to create a resolution amicably that they are both happy with usually choose the uncontested divorce process. An uncontested divorce is customary among spouses who have limited or no mutual assets, no children and no claims for alimony, or spousal maintenance.

Residency Requirements in Uncontested Divorces

New York’s residency requirements can be more complex when filing for an uncontested divorce. In order to file for an uncontested divorce in New York state, both parties must satisfy one of the following residency requirements:

  • The parties were married in New York and at least one party has been a New York state resident for one year before filing
  • The parties lived in New York state as a married couple for any amount of time while one party remained a state resident for one year prior to filing for an uncontested divorce
  • The grounds for divorce occurred in New York and one party must be a state resident one year before filing for an uncontested divorce
  • One party maintains New York State residency for two continuous years before filing for an uncontested divorce
  • The grounds for divorce occurred in New York and both parties are New York residents when the petition for uncontested divorce is filed

Every divorce is different and comes with its own set of challenges and complexities. Despite residency requirements, an uncontested divorce is a path where both parties have the opportunity to move forward with their lives in a positive way without the animosity that a contested divorce can bring. It is the type of divorce most commonly recommended amongst couples who are able to communicate amicably and sort through the details cooperatively.

 Divorce Court

Divorce court proceedings occur when mediation attempts fail to move forward. Once one party is served with the divorce petition and the other party responds to the petition, the discovery phase begins. This is when all assets, debts, financial property, including credit cards, and pensions are made known to the court. The discovery phase in a contested divorce can be lengthy depending on the cooperation of both parties. When it is complete, the divorce proceedings begin in earnest. This includes the trial, where both lawyers can call witnesses to support their client’s claims.

Do I need an attorney for my divorce?

Divorce is one area of the law where many people believe they don’t need an attorney to come out on top. And while it’s possible to resolve issues quickly and amicably if both partners are on the same page, the smart option is to have a professional on your side. Not only can experienced attorneys catch potential issues that your divorce decree might cause in the future and warn you of them, but they can also advocate for your rights at all times. That’s especially important when in the midst of an emotionally-charged situation where your judgement might be flawed.

Ortiz & Ortiz Can Help You

If you need legal counsel, we can help you. The attorneys at Ortiz & Ortiz, LLP have the knowledge and expertise needed to offer you comprehensive legal help with all divorce and family law issues and matters. For over fifty years our legal team has helped the people of New York take on their legal issues.

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