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How to satisfy New York's divorce residency requirements

Not everyone can ask for a divorce in New York. The state has some strict residency requirements that must be met.

If you're not sure that you'll meet them already, take a moment to consider what the state requires and what it may mean for breaking off your marriage.

Two years

The first way to meet the requirements is if one of you -- it does not matter if it was you or if it was your spouse -- has lived continuously within the state for a minimum of two years prior to the divorce filing. This doesn't mean you can't ever leave on vacation, but you can't take up residency anywhere else.

One year

Perhaps one of you has lived in the state for just one year, but not two. You may still qualify as long as you meet one of these other three requirements at the same time:

  1. You were married and living in New York State as a couple.
  2. You got married within the state.
  3. You are citing specific grounds for the divorce, and they took place in New York.

Again, these things only count if one of you has also lived in the state for a year continuously.


You are both New York residents when the divorce process begins, and the grounds that you are citing for the divorce occurred within the state. This is similar to the above, but the key difference is that you're both residents, rather than just one of you living in the state for a set amount of time.

As you can see, it is very important to understand exactly how the divorce process works in New York and what legal steps you need to take.

Source: NY Courts, "Residency and Grounds," accessed March 22, 2018

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