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NYC Divorce? Get Ready To Wait

divorce lawyer manhattan

One of the most common complaints about supreme courts in New York that grant divorces is how slowly cases proceed. Make that really…………… slowly.

I am not talking about long, drawn-out battles where the parties have such bitter grievances against each other that they dispute every item of property.  I am talking about cases where both parties amicably agree to end their marriage and have written agreements equally dividing all their assets to the penny. These people are not asking the court to rule on any issues – they are just asking the court to sign off on the divorce decree which their lawyers have already prepared in triplicate and submitted to the judge.

I am a New York matrimonial lawyer. I have been practicing before NYC supreme and family courts for a very long time. In Manhattan, the amount of time from filing to entry of decree, for an uncontested divorce case, averages a minimum time of six months.  In the Bronx, it is often as long as one year.  No wonder the people who come before the New York courts to get a divorced  are very frustrated.

It is instructive to compare the amount of time it takes a couple to get married with the amount of time that it takes a couple to get divorced.   When a couple who agree to get married submits application for a marriage license, the courts act very promptly.  Later, if that same couple agrees to get divorced, the experience is entirely different.

Many people would expect these two scenarios to be comparable.  If you go into court with your amicable, “no-fault” divorce agreement expecting these applications to be treated the same way your marriage agreement was treated, you are in for an unpleasant surprise. These two procedures are not at all similar.

Be prepared for lengthy delay.  If you ended the marriage in order to re-marry, do not set the date.   And even after you get your divorce decree – – finally! – – remember to wait for the appeal period to close before sending out those wedding invitations.

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