If you want to file for and obtain a divorce in New York state, the law requires that the Plaintiff, Defendant or the marriage itself have a connection of some sort to the state. Therefore, there are certain residency requirements that you must meet before you can obtain a divorce here. You cannot necessarily get married in another state, show up in New York and then immediately obtain a divorce.
There are five different ways to meet New York's residency requirements for a divorce. The first is that the marriage occurred in New York and either spouse is residing in New York at the time the divorce is commenced, and that spouse has resided in New York for at least one year immediately prior to commencement of the divorce action. For example, if you and your spouse get married in New York but then move to Florida, you may have to move back to New York and stay for a year before filing for and obtaining a divorce in New York.
The next way to meet New York's residency requirement for divorce is for the spouses to reside together in New York as husband and wife and for either spouse to reside in New York at the time the divorce is filed, so long as that spouse has lived in New York for at least one year prior to filing for divorce. Unlike the first requirement, mentioned above, in this second scenario the husband and wife could be married in another state, so long as they lived together as husband and wife in New York at some point during their marriage.
The third possible way to meet New York's residency requirement is for the cause of action for divorce to have occurred in New York and for either spouse to have resided in New York for at least one year prior to the filing of the divorce action. For example, if the grounds for your divorce are abandonment, and that abandonment happened while the husband and wife were in New York, then a divorce can be obtained in New York so long as either spouse has also resided in New York for at least one year prior to the time the divorce action is filed.
The fourth residency requirement that can be used to obtain a divorce in New York is when the cause of action for divorce occurs in the state of New York and both the husband and wife reside in the state of New York at the time the divorce action is filed. In this scenario, you don't have to have gotten married in New York or lived together as husband in wife in New York, but the cause of action for divorce must have happened in New York and both the husband and wife have to be living in New York when the divorce action is filed.
The fifth and final way to meet New York's residency requirement for divorce is for either spouse to have lived in New York for a continuous period of at least two years prior to the filing of the divorce action. It does not matter where you got married in this scenario, whether you ever actually lived together with your spouse in New York, nor where the cause of action for the divorce occurred, so long as either the husband or the wife resides in New York for a continuous period of two years or more prior to filing for divorce here.
Residency is a very important factor in a New York divorce because it gives the Supreme Court jurisdiction over the case. One of the residency requirements must be sworn to in your divorce documents and included in the final divorce paperwork that is prepared and submitted to the Judge at the end of your case for the Judge's signature. Therefore, you must make sure that you meet at least one of the above five statutory residency requirements before filing your divorce action in New York.
In addition to requirements for residency, there are many other rules and requirements that need to be met throughout the divorce process, which can be difficult without an experienced attorney representing you. If you have any questions about this area of law or would like to schedule a free consultation to discuss divorce representation, please call the office at (845) 867-2840.