The Residency Requirement for Divorce and Family Court Actions

Despite the impression that some high profile cases make, no one can choose which jurisdiction they want their case to be heard without having a significant tie to it. New York, like other states, has enough of its own matters to deal with and does not want to deal with cases in which the parties do not have a significant connection to the state. The practice called ‘Forum Shopping’ is frowned upon. 

Even county shopping, especially between the boroughs of New York City, will not be tolerated. A judge once told my opposing counsel, ‘Brookyn does not want this case, go back to Manhattan.’ The court culture between the different boroughs is so different that when you have started a family court case in one borough you should not be starting a divorce case in another borough. The case must be initiated in the county where the children reside. 

For Divorce Cases, pursuant to Domestic Relations Law Section 230, the following requirements must be met to meet the residency requirements for initiating case in New York: 

  • Either you or your spouse have been living in New York State continuously for at least two years before the divorce case is started;
  • Either you or your spouse have been living in New York State continuously for at least one year before the divorce case is started and (1) you got married in New York State, or (2) you lived in New York State as a married couple, or (3) the grounds for your divorce happened in New York State;
  • Both you and your spouse are residents of New York State on the day the divorce is started and the grounds for your divorce happened in New York State.

For Family Court Proceedings in general the parties and their children should have some significant connection to the State of New York. The child’s last habitual residence should be New York. The child’s permanent residence should be New York. Generally, to establish residence in New York, one must be living in the State for at least one year. 

Despite these rules, certain exigent circumstances could allow a parent to bring family court proceedings in New York regardless. If you are considering whether New York is the proper state in which to bring a divorce or family court action, call Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law to get a proper consultation on the matter. 

Why Adopting Your Partners Child Means Your Liable for Child Support

When creating a blended family, one might consider adopting your partner’s child as a sign of your love extending to your partner’s family. However, you must consider the possible ramifications of engaging in what you consider an act of love. You could be chased down for child support in the future. 

In certain circumstances, it makes sense to adopt a child that is not your flesh and blood and actually quite admirable. For example, there are cases where the child’s other parent has never been in their life and you have raised them as if they are your flesh and blood. But if you have no real connection to a child, then you may not be so happy about the consequences of your emotion based decision to adopt. 

When you adopt a child, they become just as legally your responsibility as if the child were your flesh and blood. That means that even if you and your partner get a divorce in the future, your partner can file a petition for child support against you and you will be responsible for supporting that child until the age of 21 in New York. The bottom line is that you should always consider whether you are willing to take on the responsibility no matter what may happen between you and your partner in the future. 

The flip side of this is that if you are the natural parent of the child, you should also consider whether you want your partner in your child’s life no matter what happens in the future. The adopting parent also has a right to custody and visitation. What if you lose custody? Are you willing to take that risk? 

If you are defending a child support, paternity or child custody or visitation petition, or seeking to bring one, contact Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law P.C. to obtain reliable advice on the subject.