No-Fault or Fault?
New York became the 50th — and final — state in the United States to allow no-fault divorce in 2010. As a result, couples in our state no longer need grounds or proof of a spouse’s wrongdoing to end their marriage. The only requirement is for one spouse to swear the marriage has been irretrievably broken for six months. And of course couples still must decide amicably about spousal and child support, the division of their property and other such issues.
More good news for some is that New York State now potentially grants attorney fees to the spouse in a no-fault divorce who is in a less financially secure position.
Fault-based divorce is still an option
However, keep in mind that you can still have a fault-based divorce in New York. That may well be a better option for you — especially if any of the following grounds apply in your case:
- Abandonment for a year or more
- Mental or physical cruelty
- Imprisonment of a spouse for at least three consecutive years
- You’ve had a separation agreement in place for one year or more
Like all laws, those that apply to divorce in New York are complex and constantly changing. So whether you seek a no-fault or a fault-based divorce, you need the guidance of a knowledgeable, aggressive attorney to protect your best interests — and your future — when you are dealing with the end of your marriage.