Guiding you through the complex, emotional legal issues facing you and your family.

Understanding grounds for divorce in New York

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2020 | Firm News

Since 2010, New York has been a no-fault divorce state. Under these laws, either spouse can file for divorce for any reason. 

If you are thinking about ending your marriage, learn more about the various grounds for divorce in New York. 

No-fault requirements 

To file for divorce in New York, one or more spouses must have lived in the state for at least 12 consecutive months. Either person can request this type of divorce after an irreversible breakdown of the marriage for six or more months. The couple can also get a no-fault divorce after a 12-month legal separation. You must file for divorce in the Supreme Court of the New York county where you or your spouse lives. 

Fault-based requirements 

You can still seek a fault divorce in New York, but it is no longer mandatory. Grounds for fault recognized by current state law include the following: 

  • One spouse sentenced to three or more years in prison in the past five years 
  • Physical, emotional or verbal abuse over the past five years 
  • Abandonment by one spouse for at least 12 months 
  • Lack of sexual intimacy for at least 12 months 
  • Proof of adultery, such as electronic communications or court testimony from a third party 

Uncontested vs. contested divorce 

You can get an uncontested divorce when you and your spouse agree on the terms of the divorce, including property division, child custody, child support and spousal support. New York requires a contested divorce when you and your spouse disagree on the grounds or terms of the divorce, or when one spouse does not want a divorce. 

For a contested divorce both spouses must provide the court with complete financial information along with evidence to support their position in the divorce proceedings. Sometimes, the judge may require the couple to attend mediation or pursue an agreement through collaborative family law practices.