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Does New York Use a Fault-Based Divorce System or No-Fault?

In 2010, New York adopted a law allowing for no-fault divorces. As the last state to adopt such a rule, this means that currently all 50 states have some form of no-fault divorce provision in place.

Prior to this rule change, New Yorkers had to allege one of the fault based grounds for divorce. If there was no wrongdoing at issue, a couple was required to separate for at least a year before they were allowed to file for divorce.

Under the new law, a couple need only wait six months after stating that their marriage is irreconcilably broken before they can proceed with a no-fault divorce. Plus, they don't have to allege either party was at fault for the marriage breakdown – only that one or both of the parties want to divorce.        

Should I still raise instances of wrongdoing with a fault divorce?

Sometimes no-fault divorce courts will bypass the evidentiary portion of trial, since the parties do not need to prove evidence of wrongdoing before filing. However, if you are in a situation involving severe abuse or violence, you may want to bring this to the attention of the judge during court hearings. It may have consequences for such matters as alimony (spousal support), or child custody issues. 

Do I need a lawyer for a New York divorce?

Both no-fault and fault divorce proceedings can be complex, especially if the spouses own a great deal of marital property, or if immigration and citizenship issues are involved. A New York divorce attorney can help you prepare the documents necessary for filing, and can provide legal arguments in the event that further disputes arise.   

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 06-20-2018 11:52 PM PDT

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