Can my wife andI settle property and financial agreements without involving the court for a filed divorce?

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Can my wife andI settle property and financial agreements without involving the court for a filed divorce?

I am in the military, stationed overseas. My wife left meand we have mutually agreed to a divorce. She has already left to go back to the states and is currently living with her parents. She is more than able to support herself. She does not want any kind of financial support and we have agreed upon property/debt distribution. We do not want to involve any courts/lawyers. an we just file the paperwork for the divorce and settle everything else ourselves? What is the minimum legal involvement required? We are filing for divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences.

Asked on November 29, 2011 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your situation.  First I am assuming that she has gone back to New York given the state and the grounds.  She must establish residency in order to file here.  Here are the requirements in New York:

1. The parties were married in the state and either party is a resident thereof when the action is commenced and has been a resident for a continuous period of one year immediately preceding, or

2. The parties have resided in this state as husband and wife and either party is a resident thereof when the action is commenced and has been a resident for a continuous period of one year immediately preceding, or

3. The cause occurred in the state and either party has been a resident thereof for a continuous period of at least one year immediately preceding the commencement of the action, or

4. The cause occurred in the state and both parties are residents thereof at the time of the commencement of the action, or

5. Either party has been a resident of the state for a continuous period of at least two years immediately preceding the commencement of the action. (Consolidated Laws of New York - Domestic Relations Laws - Article 13 - Sections: 230 and 231).

Now, I would not suggest that you do this by yourself.  I would suggest that you have a formal agreement drawn up and that both of you consult with an attorney as to your rights and obligations before signing it.  If you are agreeable you could negotiate the fee and it should be reasonable. If you have a military pension that is an issue. Good luck and thank you for your service to our country.


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