Woman taking off her wedding ring, considering divorce.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in New York?

By David Hammond

Even under the most amicable of circumstances, divorce is difficult. It involves major changes to a person’s life, plus dealing with the legal system can be a headache in and of itself. This is why one of the most commonly asked questions about divorce in New York is, “How long is this going to take?” Most people are looking to get one finalized as quickly as possible. 

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in New York?

In truth, the answer to this question is: it depends. There are several factors that can seriously impact the amount of time it takes to finalize a divorce in New York. Some of these factors include:

  • Whether or not children are involved
  • Whether there are substantial assets involved
  • What the spouses agree upon
  • What the spouses disagree upon
  • The willingness of the spouses to work on coming to an agreement
  • The court’s schedule

Whether the spouses agree on these issues is one of the biggest factors. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on all issues incident to the divorce. On average, this will take approximately 3 months to finalize.

The process begins by filing the necessary forms with the clerk of court’s office. The petition for divorce must be served to your spouse and he or she has 20 days to respond to the petition. The spouse being served has 30 days if he or she is served out of state. If your spouse fails to respond to the petition, you can file for a default divorce. You must wait for the court to review your request which usually takes at least a month. If your spouse responds to the petition and you have a written agreement that settles all issues, your divorce should be finalized, depending on the court schedule and processing time, within a few months.

If your spouse responds to the petition and the two of you are unable to reach an agreement, then it becomes a contested divorce. This takes, on average, much more time than an uncontested divorce. In fact, it may take at least 9 months to resolve. A contested divorce will move along much faster if the spouses have a willingness to cooperate and work together to reach mutually agreeable solutions to the issues they do not see eye to eye on. Without reaching an agreement on the issues, litigation will be necessary, which will also cause the process to be even longer.

Syracuse Family Law Attorneys

Whether you are facing a contested or an uncontested divorce, the dedicated family law attorneys at CDH Law are here to represent your best interests the entire way. We are here to support you, stand by your side, and walk you through the whole process. Contact us today.

About the Author
David is a former military prosecutor and defense lawyer with over a decade of experience fighting for service members and their families. He served nine years and two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer, then joined the Reserves and settled down in Syracuse to be near family. Now representing people across Central New York charged with serious felonies, misdemeanors, DWIs, and traffic offenses, he puts the same level of commitment into his civilian law practice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact David here.