An uncontested divorce is one where you do not expect your spouse to disagree with any aspect of the divorce or when your spouse does not respond to the court papers served on him/her. In cases of uncontested divorce, you may represent yourself, but a lawyer might still be helpful, especially if your spouse has one.

To get an uncontested divorce, you generally have to file documents with the court. You and your spouse generally do not have to make an appearance in court.

The Costs of Uncontested Divorce 

The NY Supreme Courts charges approximately $370 USD, which includes the index fee of $210 USD. 

If I think the divorce will be uncontested, what are the steps I need to follow to begin the divorce?

Step 1: Grounds

You must first have grounds (a legally acceptable reason) to ask for a divorce. In NY, no-fault divorce was accepted in New York, irretrievable breakdown of the relationship has been the most popular ground for divorce. Besides, other grounds such as adultery, cruel and inhuman treatment and one year separation are also the grounds for divorce. 

Step 2: Fill out and file the proper forms and pay the fee

For an uncontested divorce, you will need the Uniform Uncontested Divorce Packet. There are links to these forms on the NY courts page 

Step 3: Service of Process

Your spouse must be personally served with a copy of the all necessary papers - be sure to clarify with the clerk what exactly needs to be served upon your spouse. This means that a person other than you, who is a New York resident, age 18 or older, must personally give your spouse the papers. The server may be a friend, family member, or professional process server. 

If your spouse lives in another state, you will need to follow the rules of that state. Call the local serve company or sheriff to serve the papers. 

Step 4: In an uncontested divorce, possibly receive the Affidavit of Defendant 

If you file for divorce and your spouse agrees to the divorce, s/he will need to sign the Affidavit of Defendant (Form UD-7) and send it back to you. S/he has 40 days to do this. If it is not done within 40 days, you can file for the divorce based on his/her default.

Step 5: Place your divorce case on the court calendar

The forms that you need to file to get your divorce on the court’s calendar and in front of a judge will be different based on if your spouse signed the Affidavit of Defendant (Form UD-7) or a notice of appearance.  It takes 4 to 6 months for the court to process the divorce papers. 

Once you are served with the divorce papers but you want to contest the papers, you should contact attorneys as early as possible to file an answer. Otherwise, there may be a default judgment against you.