You may wish to speak with a lawyer before you start the divorce process. A lawyer who knows New York’s divorce laws can give you legal advice that can help you to better understand your rights and responsibilities. You can find a lawyer through your local bar association, or if you are eligible, through free legal service programs. Before you sign a retainer agreement with a lawyer, you should review the Statement of Client's Rights and Responsibilities. It is a form that deals with the attorney-client relationship.If you do not have a lawyer, and you think your spouse will agree to the divorce, you may want to use the Court’s free Uncontested Divorce Forms Packet and Instructions.
If you have parenting or economic issues to work out with your spouse and you want to stay out of court, you may want to consider forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) such as Collaborative Family Law or Divorce Mediation. These processes can improve communication and reduce the cost, stress, and trauma of divorce.
The following links may help you find legal representation and advice:
- Collaborative Family Law Center (court-sponsored)
- Links qualifying couples in New York City’s five boroughs to collaborative divorce professionals.
- Links to private collaborative divorce professional organizations throughout New York State.
- Both spouses must agree to participate.
- Note: Inappropriate for cases involving domestic violence, child abuse, or where one spouse cannot locate the other.
- CourtHelp’s Lawyer Locator
Links to free legal assistance in New York, information about legal rights, and more.
- Volunteer Attorney Program (court-sponsored)
Volunteer attorneys provide free, brief legal advice in some of the court's Help Centers. For more information, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Court-sponsored volunteer attorney programs are not available in all locations.