In New York, couples who are seeking a divorce can go through the process of a contested or an uncontested divorce. If the couple cannot agree on the terms of their legal split, they must involve the court in a contested divorce. If they can agree, however, they may be able to file for an uncontested divorce.
A contested divorce is when a couple reaches an amicable agreement on how property and other assets will be split. In some cases, a person may be granted an uncontested divorce if the defendant refuses to or fails to reply. In New York, the six grounds for divorce include abandonment for one year or more, adultery, imprisonment, cruel and inhuman treatment, conversion of a separation judgment and conversion of a separation judgment after living apart for more than one year.
If the couple decides to divorce by meeting the requirements for separation, the couple must draft a Separation Agreement. This is often the most common route to divorce as separation can be done without the involvement of the court. After the plaintiff files the paperwork requesting a separation, the defendant must be served. The couple then signs the agreement, which may include a number of terms and conditions, including an outline regarding the separation of assets. The plaintiff then files the Memorandum of Separation Agreement.
Even if the divorce is uncontested, the process of filing the action may be complicated. An attorney may be able to help their client with the paperwork necessary and could provide the client with representation in negotiations or during hearings if court intervention becomes necessary.
Source: Divorce Support, "New York Uncontested Divorce", September 11, 2014