Overview of the “No Fault” Divorce Ground in New York

Rincker Law Family/Matrimonial Law Leave a Comment

As a matrimonial attorney, I receive a lot of questions about “no fault” divorce law.  No fault law in New York did not remove the need for a “ground” in order to be divorced.  In other words, New York has been and still is a “grounds” divorce state.

Until October 12, 2010, there were only six grounds for divorce in New York State including:

1) Cruel and Inhuman treatment;

2) Abandonment (either actual or constructive);

3) Imprisonment;

4) Adultery;

5) Living separate and apart pursuant to a separation judgment or decree; and

6) Living separate and apart pursuant to a separation agreement.

However, on October 12, 2010, New York finally joined the other 49 states with passing a “no-fault” divorce ground.

New York’s 7th ground for divorce now permits a divorce based on one spouse’s sworn statement that the marriage has been “irretrievably broken” for at least the prior six (6) months prior to the commencement of the divorce.  When I commence “no-fault” divorces, I included this sworn statement for my client in the Verified Complaint.

This ground is referred to as a “no fault” ground for divorce because neither spouse has to show fault by the other spouse.  However, the caveat is that all economic, financial, custodial, and other ancillary issues must be resolved before the divorce will be finalized.  A divorce will not be granted until these issues are resolved or determined.

As an aside, I do both contested and uncontested divorces.  I have recently expanded my practice to divorce mediation (including virtual divorce mediation).

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