New York No-Fault Divorce

By David Hammond

If you have looked into getting a divorce in New York, you have probably run into some complicated legal jargon. One of these terms may have been “no fault” divorce. There is enough to deal with when you are contemplating divorce without having to worry about the complexities of the legal process. Here is an explanation of what it means for New York to be a “No-Fault” divorce state. For all of your divorce questions and concerns, CDH Law has answers for you.

What Does It Mean That New York is a “No-Fault” Divorce State?

New York adopted no-fault divorce in 2010. It was the last state to do so. Prior to this, New York was a fault state which meant that, in a divorce, one spouse must be “at fault” for the divorce. A party to the divorce would have to prove that the other spouse engaged in one of the qualifying reasons, such as adultery or abandonment, to be deemed “at fault” for the divorce. You can understand why at fault divorce can be highly contentious. It sets the foundation for a fight right from the beginning. This led to messier, more expensive divorces.

With no-fault divorce, neither spouse has to be found to be “at fault” for the divorce. Neither spouse needs to be held responsible for the divorce. No one has to prove fault. It was a long-awaited relief to many couples looking to divorce simply because things were not working out. The no-fault divorce option allows couples to forego extended trials to prove an at fault ground for divorce.

A no-fault divorce means that one or both of the parties is asserting that “the relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months.” The parties need not agree that this is the case. Only one party needs to swear to this under oath. With the no-fault divorce option, the parties are freed from the burden of fighting over who was at-fault and who had enough evidence to prove fault. The soon to be former spouses can focus on important issues such as spousal support, child custody, and child visitation, among other things.

Although no-fault divorce has been adopted in New York, the state still allows for fault-based divorces. The parties to the divorce may assert grounds for divorce which include:

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment
  • Legal separation for over a year

Although fault-based divorce is still an option, most people opt for a no-fault divorce as it is much easier to do so.

It is also important to distinguish between a no-fault divorce and an uncontested divorce. A no-fault divorce relates to the basis of the divorce. An uncontested divorce means that both parties to the divorce have agreed to all key terms of the divorce. The parties must agree on everything from spousal maintenance to division of debts, and division of assets. A divorce can be both no-fault and uncontested.

Trusted Divorce Legal Counsel

At CDH Law, we are dedicated to representing the best interest of our clients. If you are considering divorce, our trusted divorce attorneys are here to answer any of your questions and provide you with the legal support you can count on. Contact us today.

About the Author
David is a former military prosecutor and defense lawyer with over a decade of experience fighting for service members and their families. He served nine years and two combat tours as an active duty US Army officer, then joined the Reserves and settled down in Syracuse to be near family. Now representing people across Central New York charged with serious felonies, misdemeanors, DWIs, and traffic offenses, he puts the same level of commitment into his civilian law practice. If you have any questions regarding this article, you can contact David here.