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Preparing and Serving Divorce Paperwork in New York

Even if your spouse is not contesting your divorce, you will still need to prepare and file a significant amount of paperwork to finalize your divorce. All the documents you need to file for divorce in New York are on the NY Courts website.

The first form to fill out is the Summons with Notice (Form UD-1) or the Summons (Form UD-1a) and the Verified Complaint (Form UD-2). The Summons form is what officially starts your divorce in the court and names you as the plaintiff and your spouse as the defendant.  It must be filed with the clerk’s office in the county where you reside. You will be given an Index number. You have to serve same within 120 days of filing same with the county clerk.

Whether you use the Summons with Notice or the Summons and Verified Complaint depends on the details of your case. Both will require you to provide various pieces of information, including the reason you are seeking a divorce and any “relief” (custody, child support, alimony) you are seeking.

After filling out the forms, you will need to make some copies. Bring the forms to the county clerk’s office, and keep copies for your own personal records. Note that there is a filing fee you must pay when turning in this paperwork. Currently, the fee for filing the summons with notice is $210.  

Serving your divorce forms

You must serve your spouse with a copy of the summons and complaint (if applicable) within 120 days of your filing date. If your spouse also lives in the state of New York, any legal state resident who is at least 18 years old may serve your spouse. The paperwork must be handed to your spouse in person.

If you and your spouse have children, you must serve the Child Support Standards Chart along with the summons. You  may also attach the Affidavit of Defendant (Form UD-7), along with instructions for filling it out. Your spouse must fill out this form, sign it and return it to you within 40 days if he or she agrees to the divorce.

For further legal guidance on preparing and serving divorce paperwork in New York, consult a knowledgeable family law attorney with Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.