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How Do Uncontested and Contested Divorces Differ in New York?

What’s the Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorces?

When filing for divorce in New York, many couples ask their attorney “how fast can this be filed?” This answer typically depends on the type of divorce being filed. Keep reading to learn the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce, and how our experienced family attorneys at Levi Divorce & Family Law Attorneys can help ensure the process goes smoothly.

What is an Uncontested Divorce?

If you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement on the causes and terms of your divorce, you can file an uncontested divorce. This means that you will not need to go to court to settle important terms of your divorce.

In New York, this means that the couple must decide on the following agreements:

  • Child custody and visitation schedules
  • Child support
  • Division of all debts and assets
  • Alimony amounts
  • Tax deductions and exemptions

You’ll need to legalize your choice in writing — whether on your own or with the help of an attorney or mediator. Couples who file an uncontested divorce in New York can then finalize their paperwork in as little as weeks. However, on average, most New York uncontested divorces take about 3 months.

What is a Contested Divorce?

While some couples may be able to amicably agree on the terms of their divorce, others may not. Whether you don’t agree on the need for divorce, or on the terms of the divorce such as child custody and alimony, you can file a contested divorce.

Do Contested Divorces Take Longer to Finalize?

Couples who file a contested divorce require the help of an attorney and the New York family court to resolve important matters in their divorce. Because of this, a contested divorce case in New York typically takes much longer than an uncontested divorce.

New York is a no-fault state, which means that it views divorce as the dissolution of an economic partnership, and the cause of the divorce does not legally matter. The process begins when either spouse files a divorce action with the court. Then, that partner has 120 days to serve their spouse, who then has 20 to 30 days to answer. In total, it typically takes 9 months to a year for a contested divorce to be finalized, with complex cases taking more time.

Seasoned Divorce Lawyers in New York

All divorces are not created equal. Someone who is getting divorced after a long-term marriage with three children, a home, and a robust investment portfolio requires a very different approach from someone who has only been married a few years and has no children and no real property.

Whether you’re filing an uncontested or a contested divorce, our experienced and determined team of attorneys at Levi Divorce & Family Law Attorneys can guide you and your family through the process.

To book a consultation, visit us online or call our office at: (718) 215-0121