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What are the rules for residency in a New York divorce?

With any New York State divorce, there are certain rules that must be followed under the law. This is true whether it is a high-profile couple with a significant asset division to be navigated or a couple of lesser means who are planning to divorce. Understanding the residency requirements is particularly important for those who are considered wealthy. This is because these couples might have multiple residences and if they are planning to divorce in New York, they must know the applicable laws.

For residency, there are several ways for the requirement to be met. First, the person filing and the spouse must have been living in New York State on a continuous basis for a minimum of two years prior to the beginning of the divorce case. Second, either the person filing or the spouse must have been living in New York State on a continuous basis for a minimum of one year prior to the beginning of the case and the couple was married in New York State; they lived in New York State as a married couple; or the grounds for divorce occurred in New York State. Third, the person filing and the spouse resided in New York State on the day that the divorce began and the grounds occurred in the state.

There are seven grounds for divorce in New York. They are the following: an irretrievable breakdown for a minimum of six months; cruel and inhuman treatment; abandonment; adultery; a divorce after a legal separation agreement; or a divorce after a judgment of separation. Depending on the circumstances, the grounds might need to be linked to the residency requirements, therefore it is important to know these as well.

For New York couples who are seeking to end their marriage, having a grasp of the basics of filing in the state is one of the key factors to moving forward. Many divorces - specifically those with substantial assets - can evolve into a contentious dispute. Having help in a case with an attorney who is experienced in high-asset divorce is beneficial and the first call to make.

Source: nycourts.gov, "Residency and Grounds," accessed on Jan. 6, 2017

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