New York Divorce Guide

Grounds For Divorce

Q. Do New York State divorce laws allow a no-fault ground Child custody strategiesfor divorce, such as irreconcilable differences? If not, what is the legal separation I keep hearing about?
Finally, New York does permit no-fault divorces. Up until October 2010, NY was the only remaining state that did not permit such marriage termination. To qualify for a no-fault divorce, one of the parties must claim that there’s been an irretrievable breakdown in their marriage with no chance for reconciliation and that these conditions have lasted for at least 6 months.

Parties can legally separate for a year once a separation agreement had been submitted and accepted by the court, and then be divorced. (Some refer to this method as a mutual “consent divorce”) At the end of the year apart either could request that the separation be converted to a dissolution.

Q. What are the fault grounds for divorce in New York State?
The New York Legislature changed the landscape for divorce as of October 2010. There is now a no-fault component added to the list of grounds for divorce. Fault grounds include:

  • cruel and inhuman treatment that makes it unsafe for a couple to continue to live together
  • abandonment for at least one year
  • incarceration for at least three consecutive years after the marriage, or
  • adultery

Fault grounds must be proven by evidence before a court. The Plaintiff must demonstrate that his or her spouse committed a misconduct that makes that spouse guilty.

Q. Please describe the variations of residency the state accepts for filing for divorce.
A divorce can be filed if:

  • you were married in NYS and at least one of you have been a NYS resident for at least a year
  • you and your spouse resided in NYS as husband and wife, and at least one of you has been a resident of NYS for at least one year before the start of the divorce
  • the grounds for divorce occurred in NYS, and at least one of you has been a resident of NYS for at least one year before the start of the divorce
  • the grounds for divorce occurred in NYS, and both you and your spouse are residents of NYS at the start of the divorce, or
  • at least one of you has been a resident of NYS for at least two years immediately before the start of the divorce.
Divorces based on separation – you must demonstrate to the court that
  • you lived apart pursuant to a court-ordered judgment of separation for at least a year, and the spouse seeking the divorce has provided proof that he or she performed the terms and conditions of the judgment, or
  • you lived apart according to a formal agreement of separation for a minimum of one year and the partner seeking the divorce has proof that is satisfactory to the court that all the terms and conditions of the agreement have been met

[Domestic Relations Laws – Volume 8 – Section 170 and Article 10, Section 170, and Article 13, Section 230]

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