What is the Cost of Divorce in New York?

Traditional divorce in New York State is expensive and time-consuming. But you don’t necessarily have to go the route of expensive divorce attorneys and time spent fighting in a courtroom over marital property, spousal support, and similar issues. You have other options.

Cost of a traditional New York divorce

Divorce can be costly for a variety of reasons. In New York, the cost of a divorce action is largely based on how complex and contentious the proceedings are. If both parties agree to all terms, it may be possible to reach an agreement without court intervention, which could keep costs down. However, when couples have disagreements over issues such as child custody or support payments, they often need assistance from legal professionals who charge a premium rate for their time and expertise.

Uncontested vs. contested divorce costs

An uncontested divorce is possible when both parties agree to the terms without needing to go through the court system. This may involve the couple negotiating an agreement on their own or working with a mediator or lawyer who facilitates negotiations between them. The uncontested divorce process typically involves less paperwork and legal fees, resulting in fewer expenses overall.

A contested divorce occurs when married couples disagree on some aspect of their separation and require judicial intervention. In this situation, the couple would likely need extensive legal representation, involving more paperwork and higher costs. Settling a contested divorce can take longer, as the case must go through various stages in the New York court such as mediation, trial preparation, and possibly a trial. Any disagreements that persist after these stages would further prolong the proceedings and amplify the cost. 

Saving money with an uncontested divorce

An uncontested divorce can save you money in a variety of ways. With no court proceedings, you can work out an agreement between yourselves or with the help of a mediator, reducing your legal fees. Less paperwork is generally involved in the process since you are not required to go through the full court proceedings. 

While you'd still need to open a divorce case, which requires paying a filing fee, you wouldn’t incur many additional expenses beyond the mediation itself with an uncontested divorce.

Help from a mediator

Generally, an uncontested divorce involves a mediator who helps both spouses come to an agreement on all terms of their divorce. 

Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party facilitates negotiations between the two parties in order to reach an agreement. This typically occurs when couples can't agree on the terms of their divorce and need outside help to settle matters, including hot-button issues that involve minor children and what’s in the best interest of the child. A mediator's job is to stay impartial and listen to both sides, offering guidance and advice where necessary. 

Read: A Beginner’s Guide to Divorce Mediation

If an agreement is reached during mediation, it should be documented in writing and signed by all parties involved. This document is the marital settlement agreement. It's important to make sure it matches what you've agreed to, and if it doesn't, it’s vital to make the necessary changes before you present the document to a judge. (You could make changes later, but it's easier and cheaper to do it now.) 

When you're satisfied with your agreement, a judge will review it for legal accuracy. They may require you and your spouse to come to court to verify in person that you both agree. If the judge is satisfied with that, they'll approve the agreement and issue a final divorce decree, making your divorce official.

Read: Online Mediation: The Most Convenient Divorce Option

Can I get a low-cost online divorce in New York?

Yes. Online divorce is possible in the state of New York, and it’s especially accessible if you and your spouse agree on most or all matters of your divorce. 

With Hello Divorce's flat-rate plans, we provide guidance and support to one or both spouses, depending on the plan you select. We’re highly familiar with the divorce laws in New York, and we make sure you have the right divorce forms and help you think through the division of your marital assets and liabilities. This route is drastically cheaper than a “traditional” New York divorce where you work with a law firm and pay hefty sums to divorce attorneys because it keeps you out of court and saves you money.

You can also contact us for legal advice through a one-on-one session with an attorney or to find a certified mediator who will help you find a middle ground on disputed issues. 


Divorce Content Specialist & Lawyer
Divorce Strategy, Divorce Process, Legal Insights

Bryan is a non-practicing lawyer, HR consultant, and legal content writer. With nearly 20 years of experience in the legal field, he has a deep understanding of family and employment laws. His goal is to provide readers with clear and accessible information about the law, and to help people succeed by providing them with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the legal landscape. Bryan lives in Orlando, Florida.