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No fault divorce

New York, NY |

How long usually does a no fault divorce take... if taking a long time can the party ask for trial? what will be tested at trial

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Attorney answers 5


It depends if your spouse signs a waiver or needs to be served and it varies with the county and the current backlog. Asking for a trial will delay the case. Grounds will not be a basis for a defense for a no fault divorce. Financial matters of equitable distribution, child support, custody, visitation, and spousal maintenance may be contested. Consult with an experienced divorce lawyer to assist you.

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It depends on the county you file in & if the other party signs a consent. If the other party promptly signs a consent, most NYC courts sign the divorce judgment within about 3-4 months. You would not necessarily need a trial unless the other party files an Answer or Notice of Appearance. Trials are usually only necessary if one or more issues are contested. In any event, I encourage you to follow-up with a NYC Divorce lawyer.

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You haven't indicated what, if any issues, need to be addressed. If you have issues with custody, support and property distribution, then your case will have to go through the discovery phase before it can get resolved. You will typically receive a scheduling order that will outline when certain things in your case must be done. Matters only go to trial to the extent that you and your spouse are not able to resolve issues of custody/support/property distribution. Grounds is no longer an issue for trial. If all your issues are resolved, and papers submitted to the judge for signature, then it depends on how many other cases the judge has before yours that he/she has to render a decison on. If the issues are not resolved, then the answer is as long as it takes you and your spouse to resolve the issues or set it down for a trial.


A "no fault" divorce simply means no contest on the grounds for the divorce, but does not address the other issues (equitable distribution, custody, etc). So it will go as quickly or slowly as it takes the two spouses to agree on those issues. If there is no agreement as to these, then all of these issues will have to be determined at trial, and the only settled matter may be the grounds for dissolution. So the grounds here don't make much difference to the time line, it's the other, hard stuff that does.


I think it's a common misconception that "no-fault" divorce and "uncontested" divorce mean the same thing. This is not true. So it is important that you clarify which you are referring to.

If you are referring to a no-fault divorce, that means that you are talking about the grounds on which your divorce will be based (i.e. we are getting divorced because we can't get along anymore...). In NY, it's is DRL 170(7) and referred to as an irretrievable breakdown. Filing for a no-fault divorce does not necessarily mean there is no trial. A trial could still be held on all the other issues surrounding the dissolution. No-fault does not mean that the parties are agreeing to the terms of the divorce and working to settle without trial.

That would be an uncontested divorce - which means that both parties want the divorce to occur, are in agreement about the reason they are getting divorced, and are amenable to settling issue surrounding the divorce (custody, child support, maintenance, property) through a settlement agreement rather than going to trial. The amount of time this takes fluctuates depending on how many issues need to be worked out. Even though the parties are trying to work together, it can still be a long process. Even after filing all of the paperwork, the courts still have a backlog and take several months, depending on the county, before they review the submission. .

Trials, however, always make things longer. Plus, they take the decisionmaking out of your hands and put it into the hands of the Judge.

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