How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in NY?

Updated January 31, 2024
10 min read
How Long Does an Uncontested Divorce Take in NY?

In general, an uncontested divorce in New York takes approximately three months to resolve. However, the duration varies depending on the unique circumstances of each case. Some proceedings are settled as quickly as six weeks, while more complex cases may extend over a year. Hence, there is no standard 'one-size-fits-all' timeline since every divorce case is distinct and unique.

Difference Between a Contested and an Uncontested Divorce

A contested divorce arises when the parties involved disagree on the divorce's terms, resulting in the proposals being deemed unsatisfactory or outright opposition to the divorce. In these instances, the divorce typically necessitates the involvement of lawyers, court trials, witness testimonies, and a judge's decision to resolve disagreements. Therefore, finding a qualified lawyer becomes crucial in navigating the complexities of a contested divorce.

On the other hand, an uncontested or mutual divorce occurs when both spouses consent to the divorce and agree on all its terms. In these cases, court trials are usually unnecessary, and the case does not need to undergo judicial scrutiny. Understanding how long an uncontested divorce takes in NY is essential for those seeking a swift resolution. With the usual legal formalities simplified, couples often find the uncontested divorce process less stressful and completed more quickly than a contested divorce.

In both contested and uncontested divorces, a divorce settlement agreement outlining the terms agreed upon by the spouses concerning properties, custody, and support is crucial for legally documenting the dissolution of the marriage.

What Factors Might Delay the Uncontested Divorce Process?

Even though an uncontested divorce may seem straightforward, various factors can cause delays. Ironically, couples who start by declaring they've "agreed on everything" may uncover numerous disagreements. This situation can lead to litigation, court dealings, extra legal fees, and elongated divorce proceedings.

Timeliness and accuracy when filing paperwork can also significantly impact the process. An experienced attorney can be indispensable in ensuring that these aspects are handled correctly. Therefore, it's essential to invest time in choosing the right attorney to manage your case. You can find some helpful questions to ask potential attorneys here.

The presence of children can also intensify conflicts and make the divorce process lengthier and emotionally strenuous.

How Long Will My Divorce Take in New York?

As mentioned earlier, the average uncontested divorce in New York usually wraps up in about three months. But if you're wondering how long does a divorce take in NY with a contested case, the process can last approximately nine months to a year. However, given the numerous circumstances involved, it can be challenging to predict accurately how long a specific divorce might take — even if it's uncontested.

To understand why the divorce process can be prolonged, let us break down the New York divorce process steps and find ways to expedite your proceedings.

Uncontested Divorce Process in New York

Before filing for a divorce, you must meet two conditions. Firstly, there are residency requirements, which are detailed in official resources. Secondly, you and your spouse should agree on the reasons for the legal dissolution of your marriage.

New York recognizes seven grounds for divorce:

  • Cruel & Inhumane Treatment.

  • Abandonment.

  • Imprisonment.

  • Adultery.

  • Divorce after a Legal Separation.

  • Divorce after a Judgment of Separation.

  • Irretrievable Breakdown.

An 'Irretrievable Breakdown' implies that you and your spouse agree that your marriage has effectively been over for at least six months, which is essential for understanding how to divorce in NY. Furthermore, all financial matters relating to property and issues concerning children have been mutually agreed upon. This ground is the most applicable to an uncontested divorce.

The uncontested divorce steps in NY typically involve the following steps:

  • Step 1: Filing — Begin by filing a summons with the county clerk's office. The person initiating the divorce proceedings, referred to as the 'Plaintiff,' files the summons, and the person on the receiving end, called the 'Defendant,' is then served.

  • Step 2: Serving — The defendant must be informed of the divorce proceedings by serving them with the summons and any related documentation.

  • Step 3: Defendant’s Response — The defendant has three potential responses: agreement, contesting, or default if no response is received within 40 days.

  • Step 4: Calendaring — The case is ready for a judge's review. All the required documents must be filled out, notarized, and submitted.

  • Step 5: Judgment — If everything is in order, the judge signs the 'Judgment of Divorce,' and the defendant must be served again.

Even an uncontested divorce can seem daunting. Thus, it's highly beneficial to seek the advice of an experienced attorney to assist you in navigating these steps effectively. Knowledgeable legal guidance can help smooth the process, ensuring you adhere to New York law and saving you time and potential difficulties later on.

How Fast Can You Get A No-Fault Divorce In NY?

In an ideal scenario, an uncontested divorce NYC timeline suggests that a no-fault divorce could be completed within six weeks. However, conflicts, mistakes, or miscommunications can extend this period to months or even years. Be aware that the specifics of your case play a crucial role. Hiring a competent attorney ensures that the process runs as smoothly and quickly as possible.


Many elements can interfere with and lengthen the divorce process, explaining why most divorce proceedings take over three months to conclude. While numerous resources can guide you through an online DIY divorce, hiring a lawyer is preferred if your circumstances are complex or prone to disagreement. However, if both parties agree on all aspects of the divorce, you can navigate the process swiftly and move forward to the next chapter of your life.

Article by
Kateryna Adkham

Kateryna Adkham is a highly skilled and experienced content specialist at Lawrina. With her expertise and knowledge in content creation, Kateryna plays a crucial role in developing high-quality and engaging content for Lawrina.

Kateryna is responsible for various tasks such as researching, writing, editing, and proofreading content to ensure its accuracy, clarity, and effectiveness.