Should I Pursue a Fault or No-Fault-Based Divorce in New York?


When it comes to divorce, most people wish they could get it over and done with as easily as ripping off a bandage and moving on. However, this is rarely the case, especially when New York married couples pursue a fault-based divorce. Since 2010, New York started to allow what are called “no-fault” divorces, in which neither party has to assign blame to the other for the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. New York was the final state in the union to drop the requirement that couples need grounds to divorce.

No-fault divorces are often the more attractive option for the vast majority of divorcing couples, because there’s no need to air your proverbial dirty laundry in the public courtroom, which may hurt or embarrass your children. What’s more, a fault-based divorce can take months or even years to resolve, not to mention it will be more expensive and likely more stressful.

What Are the Grounds for a Fault-Based Divorce?

“Grounds” for divorce indicate a legally acceptable reason to end your marriage. While it is no longer necessary to prove grounds for a divorce, some individuals seeking to divorce their spouse may pursue a fault-based divorce as a type of bargaining chip for the best terms for their divorce.

By seeking fault-based divorce, you’ll have to back up the following allegations and use them as grounds:

  • Cruel and inhumane treatment, such as physical or mental abuse
  • Abandonment for at least one year
  • Incarceration for at least 3 consecutive years after the marriage
  • Adultery

Is a No-Fault Divorce the Same as an Uncontested Divorce?

No. An uncontested divorce means the couple has resolved all the major issues of their divorce, including asset division, debt distribution, custody and visitation of minor children, child support, and spousal support. Contested divorces, by contrast, means there is no agreement on these major issues, and the couple may still be pursuing a no-fault divorce.

Contact Us at Letterio & Haug, LLP for a Consultation

The best way to protect your interests, whether you are filing a no-fault or fault-based divorce, is to hire a divorce attorney familiar with the intricacies of New York divorce laws. Contact our divorce lawyers for a consultation by dialing (845) 203-0997 or reaching out online for a quick response.

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