Divorce and New York’s Residency Requirements

Requiring a period of residence for divorce actions ensures that individuals will not look for a state with more advantageous divorce laws, or use the courts of a state to obtain a “quickie divorce” without having established any real connection with the state.

New York’s residency requirements for filing for divorce are relatively strict compared to many other states. Section 230 of the Domestic Relations law provides that an action for divorce may be maintained only when any of the following conditions of New York residency apply:

1. You and your spouse were married in New York, and either of you is a resident of New York when the divorce action is started and has been a resident of New York for a continuous period of one year immediately before the commencement of the divorce action;
2. You and your spouse have resided in New York as husband and wife, and either of you is a resident of New York when the divorce action is started and has been a resident of New York for a continuous period of one year immediately preceding the beginning of the divorce action;
3. The grounds for divorce occurred in New York, and either you or your spouse has been a resident of New York for a continuous period of at least one year immediately before the beginning of the divorce action;
4. The grounds for divorce occurred in New York, and both you and your spouse are residents of New York at the time of the commencement of the divorce action;
5. Either you or your spouse has been a resident of New York for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of the divorce action.

If any of the above five requirements are fulfilled, then either party may file for divorce in New York; not just the party meeting the residency requirement. Thus, it is possible to commence a divorce action in New York even if one spouse resides outside of New York State.

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