New York's Residency Requirement for Divorce

There are certainly benefits to filing for divorce in New York. The state may offer more favorable terms regarding property division, child support, child custody, or spousal support. However, New York has specific rules regarding who is eligible to file for divorce in the state, particularly regarding residence.

At least one of the spouses must meet the state's residency requirements to file for divorce in New York. Failing to meet these requirements can result in delays or problems with divorce proceedings.

To formally end a marriage in New York, individuals must meet the criteria covered in New York Domestic Relations Law 230. According to this statute, there are several ways to meet the residency requirement.

The Two-Year Rule

If the plaintiff or defendant in the divorce case has been a New York resident continuously for at least two years before starting the divorce case, you should meet the New York residency requirement for divorce. It is important to note that this two-year requirement must be continuous and cannot be broken up over time.

Remember, the two-year requirement can qualify you for a New York divorce even if the marriage ceremony did not take place in New York. Likewise, you do not have to have lived together as a married couple in New York to qualify as long as at least one spouse was a resident of New York for at least two years before the divorce case began.

The One-Year Rule

There are exceptions to the two-year requirement. If either you or your spouse has lived in New York continuously for at least one year before starting the divorce case AND you meet any of the following requirements, you should meet the New York residency requirement for divorce.

  1. The marriage ceremony occurred in New York State, or
  2. As a married couple, you lived together in New York, or
  3. The event that sparked the divorce (grounds for divorce) occurred in New York State while you both were residents of New York.

Note that you do not have to meet all three of these requirements to meet the residency requirement for a NY divorce. Just one is enough to qualify.

Can I File for NY Divorce If I Live Out of State?

Yes, you can still pursue divorce in New York if you or your spouse no longer live in the state as long as you meet the New York residency requirements described above.

Be sure to gather evidence of your residency status to present along with your divorce filing. Evidence of residency status may include any documents showing that you or your spouse lived in New York for the required period of time. Such evidence may include a driver's license, vehicle registration, tax documents, voter registration, utilities, bills, and mortgage or rental documents.

It is important to note that residency requirements can vary depending on each individual case, so it is crucial to seek legal advice to determine whether you meet the necessary criteria to file for divorce in New York. If you are unsure whether you meet New York's residency requirement for divorce, be sure to speak with an experienced New York divorce attorney who can help you navigate the process.


Naomi Schanfield

Naomi Schanfield concentrates on all aspects of matrimonial and family law, including, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, divorce, equitable distribution, child custody and visitation, support matters, family offense disputes, and domestic violence.

To connect with Naomi: 212.682.6222 | Online

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