Modern New York and No Fault Divorce

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New York was literally the last state in the union to create a form of ‘no fault’ divorce for its citizens. Until the year 2010, couples seeking a divorce in New York State had to supply grounds for the divorce that could be affirmed and documented, making it a very difficult and complex process. Now all that is required is that “… The relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for at least six months …”

It should be noted that the prior grounds recognized in New York State for divorce (cruelty, abandonment, imprisonment, adultery, judgment of separation or separation agreement in place for at least one year) are still in place and can be cited as cause for divorce when one spouse refuses to seek or grant a divorce. So-called ‘no fault divorce’ becomes the seventh grounds for divorce in the state.


Many people have a misunderstanding of what ‘no fault’ means in the context of divorce. It only affects the initial phase of the process: Couples no longer have to dream up horrible crimes to accuse each other of simply to gain permission to divorce. However, once the process of seeking a divorce has begun, not much has changed in the process: There still must be an investigation and division of assets, a determination of custody and visitation, and rulings on any number of issues stemming from the relationship. In other words, while the new no fault law simplifies the process of filing for divorce, it has not made the process itself any easier in terms of emotional, financial, or personal impact.

When contemplating divorce, your best decision is to seek out an experienced and compassionate attorney to guide you through the process.

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