The divorce process in New York has historically been a lengthy and costly procedure. As a fault-based divorce state, one spouse had to allege the other at fault for the divorce under specific grounds. The only other options besides fault-based grounds were to separate for a period of a year under a separation agreement or judgment.
In the state of New York, we traditionally had six different grounds for divorce. Depending on which grounds the spouses alleged, it determined the requirements for the divorce.
Traditional fault-based grounds include:
- Cruel and inhuman treatment, or the mental or physical abuse of a spouse
- Abandonment of a spouse for a period of one year
- Imprisonment of a spouse for at least three years
- Judgment of Separation when spouses have not lived together for at least one year under the terms of a Decree of Separation or Judgment of Separation
- Separation Agreement when spouses have not lived together for at least one year under the terms of an Agreement of Separation
In a traditional fault-based divorce, one spouse not only had to blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage, but they also had to prove it. Litigation and fault-finding often made divorce far more acrimonious, time-consuming, and expensive than it needed to be, often leading to extensive New York City divorce lawyer fees.
But, as of October 2010, New York became the last state in the nation to finally enact a no-fault divorce ground. Now, marital partners may seek a divorce if the spouses allege that their relationship has been irretrievably broken for a period of at least six months.
The Ease and Relative Speed of a No-Fault Divorce
While the other fault-based grounds have not been eliminated and some couples still use them, divorcing spouses in New York can now take advantage of a no-fault divorce.
If one spouse seeks a divorce alleging the marriage has been irretrievably broken for at least six months, there is no need for defense by the other partner. A divorce will be granted as long as all the other issues are resolved, such as child support, child custody, marital asset distribution, and spousal support. Consequently, in this case, the couple is not required to be separated for a year as required by some of the other fault-based grounds for divorce.
Traditional Fault-Based Divorces Are Becoming Rarer
Although fault-based divorces are still used, these types of divorces are becoming rarer. With the availability of no-fault divorces, the process is more expeditious and less expensive than the traditional fault-based options. And without the need for fault-finding and proof of the other spouse’s bad behavior, couples are often able to communicate more civilly with one another and co-parent their children more cooperatively.
If you are considering a divorce in New York City, a no-fault option may be one you want to consider. Contact the experienced NYC divorce attorneys at The Law Office of Ryan Besinque to get more information on divorce grounds and no-fault divorce options.