Divorce Summons and Service in New York

The divorce process may slightly differ from state to state. Knowing the specific guidelines in your jurisdiction is paramount in avoiding any delays.

Here are some things you need to know if you’re filing a divorce summons in the state of New York.

Residency Requirements When Filing for a New York Divorce

For the Supreme Court to hear a divorce case, certain residency requirements must be met.

Residency requirements include:

  • Either of the divorcing parties has lived in New York State for a minimum of two years immediately leading up to the date the divorce was filed
  • Either of the divorcing parties was living in the state at the time the divorce was filed
  • The grounds for divorce occurred in New York
  • Either of the divorcing parties has lived in New York for a year immediately leading up to the date the divorce was filed.

Filing a Divorce Summons in New York

The Supreme Court handles all divorce proceedings in New York. Divorce paperwork must be filed at the county clerk’s office where the spouse resides.

To initiate a divorce action, the plaintiff must file either a “Summons” or “Summons with Complaint.” A divorce summons is a legal document that informs the other spouse that an action for divorce has been taken. Meanwhile, a complaint explains why the petitioner wants to pursue a divorce.

If a summons is served sans a complaint, the respondent has 20 days to serve a “Notice of Appearance” on the plaintiff. This informs the court of their participation in the proceedings.

lawyerFor a summons filed with a complaint, the respondent will also be given 20 days to answer the complaint.

When filing a summons, the court clerk will charge a filing fee. Then, an index number will be issued. This serves as the case’s identifier.

How to Serve Divorce Papers in New York State

As part of the divorce process, the petitioner or the person filing for divorce must inform the other party of the divorce action through service of process.

The server cannot be someone involved in the case—this means that spouses cannot serve their partners. According to NY laws, a friend, relative, or a professional process server who is 18 years and above is qualified to serve.

The legal documents can be delivered through the following methods of service:

  • Personal Service: The court papers are personally handed to the respondent.
  • Substituted Service: If the intended recipient is not at home, the server may leave the documents with someone who lives or works with the recipient. Alternatively, the papers can also be mailed to the respondent’s last known residence or workplace.
  • Service by Publication: If the spouse cannot be found, the court may permit an official notification of the divorce action to be published in a newspaper. However, the court must first see that the filing spouse has exhausted all means to find their partner.
  • Alternate Service: Any other service method that the court deems necessary.

Serving the Spouse in an Uncontested Divorce

Serving a spouse in an uncontested divorce is an easier process since the spouse has agreed to cooperate. For uncontested divorces:

  • The divorce papers must be served within 120 days from the date they were filed at the County Clerk’s Office.
  • The server must be at least 18 years old or older.
  • If the divorce papers are being served in New York, the server must also be a resident of the state or at least is eligible to serve papers according to New York laws.

The server must fill out the “Affidavit of Service” and return a signed and notarized copy to the petitioner. This legal document will serve as proof of service.

Trusted Process Servers in New York City

When filing for divorce, it is natural to want to make the process as quick and painless as possible. This includes serving the papers in an efficient and timely manner so as not to delay the divorce proceedings.

At Serve Index LLC, we can do just that. Our dedicated process servers will safely and promptly deliver your divorce summons per New York laws. We serve legal documents nationwide.

Learn more about the benefits of hiring professional process servers. Call us today at 1-888-994-6339 to get a free quote.

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