New York Divorce Residency Requirements
By J. Douglas Barics
Revised Jan 2008
New York's residence requirements for matrimonial actions are contained in Domestic Relations Law Section 230 They apply to an action for a divorce under DRL 170, a judicial separation under DRL 200, an annulment, or action to declare the nullity of a void marriage under DRL 140. Domestic Relations Law 230 requires that at least one of the following five residency requirements be met.
1. The parties were married in New York, and either party lived in New York for one year prior to filing.
2. The parties resided in New York as husband and wife, and either party lived in New York for one year or more prior to filing.
3. The cause of action occurred in New York, and either party lived in New York for one year or more prior to filing.
4. The cause of action occurred in New York, and both parties live in New York at the time of filing.
5. Either party has lived in New York for two years or more prior to filing.
If none of the residency requirements are met, the action cannot be maintained in New York.
The residency requirements of DRL 230 must be included as an element of the pleadings, either in the verified complaint or verified counter-claim, and must be proven as part of the cause of action. Any challenge to residency must be raised during the divorce, and a subsequent post judgment challenge to residency will not deprive the court of jurisdiction. See Lacks v Lacks 41 NY2d 71 (Court of Appeals, 1976), which held that any challenge to residency expires upon the conclusion of the divorce action.
Residency is not necessarily the same as domicile, and courts have held that a New York domicile which meets the for the requisite time period of DRL 230 allows a party to maintain the action. This is not surprising, since domicile is defined as the place where an individual considers his or her home; it is more than just a mere residence, it is the place an individual considers home. One of the most common examples is military deployment. A New York resident who otherwise satisfies DRL 230 is deployed by the military overseas for a year. Upon their return, the requirements of DRL 230 would still be met, despite actual residence outside of New York.
The article "New York Divorce Residency Requirements" is provided as a free educational service by J. Douglas Barics, attorney at law, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice may only come from a qualified attorney who is familiar with the facts and circumstances of a specific case.
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J. Douglas Barics, Esq. – Divorce, family, matrimonial lawyer in Long Island, New York.