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Divorce and Annulment for Immigrants

We offer divorce services to immigrants living here in the New York region.  An immigrant’s marriage, like any other marriage, is liable to break down for any reason. Bear in mind that almost 50% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. 

A divorce is commenced in the State Supreme Court or Superior Court, where issues such as child support, custody, visitation and spousal support are also decided and processed.  The most common ground for divorce in New York State is Irretrievable Breakdown in Relationship for a period of at least six months, similar to Irreconcilable Differences in other States. Other grounds include abandonment, adultery, cruelty and imprisonment.

A divorce can be contested or uncontested. A contested divorce is where one party who does not agree to the terms of the divorce retains a lawyer, and the case usually winds up in court for a determination. This can be a long and expensive process.


An uncontested divorce is where both parties agree to go their separate ways without animosity, and do not dispute issues such as the grounds for the divorce, property division, child support, visitation, or maintenance, and subsequently sign the necessary paperwork to be filed with the court.  

A default divorce is obtained when the Defendant spouse, after being personally served with the divorce Summons, does not answer or contest the matter within a certain period of time.  Personal service of the court Summons to a Defendant is required under New York State law.

An exception to the personal service rule is the situation where the Defendant spouse is missing and cannot be located for personal service of the court Summons. In this case, the court will allow a "Divorce by Publication" to be filed, which dispenses with personal service and permits the Summons to be published by legal notice in a local newspaper.  

Residency rules apply. One of the parties to a divorce in New York State must have resided in the State for a minimum period of one year. Similar rules apply in other States, although for Nevada, the minimum residency period is only six weeks.

An Annulment is similar to a divorce in that it terminates the marriage. However it differs in the sense that it recognizes that the marriage was void from the beginning, based on fraud. Grounds for Annulment include false promises made and given by one of the parties prior to the marriage, for example, a promise by one party to the other to have children during the marriage, who then revokes this promise after the marriage is solemnized; or if one party marries the other specifically for the purpose of obtaining a green card through the marriage; or if one party marries the other without first obtaining a divorce from an existing spouse.

We also handle international divorces, where a US citizen spouse living in the United States wishes to divorce his or her spouse who is living abroad, anywhere in the world.