No Fault Divorce

Prior to 2010, the only way to get a true “no fault” divorce was to enter into a separation agreement and wait one year to file for divorce (known as a conversion divorce). If a couple did not want to wait one year, that meant they would have to agree to use one of the other “fault” grounds in order to get a divorce. In other words, one party would have to claim that the other person did something, or was at fault, within the scope of the available grounds.

No Fault Divorce – Irretrievable Breakdown of the Marriage

As of late 2010, New York passed no-fault divorce. There is no longer a need for a spouse to establish blame in order to get a divorce. The no-fault ground requires that one of the parties states that the relationship has been irretrievably broken down for at least six months and all of the issues between the parties (custody, support, property division, etc.) have been resolved. There is no longer a waiting period, which means upon the conclusion of a separation agreement which resolves all of the relevant issues, a couple can immediately file for divorce on the basis of this no-fault ground.

Residency Requirements

In order for a no-fault divorce to be finalized, New York State must have what is known as jurisdiction over the parties, and one of the following residency requirements must be satisfied:

The marriage ceremony was performed in New York and either spouse is a resident of the state at the time of the commencement of the divorce action and resided in the state for a continuous period of one year immediately before the action began.

The couple lived as husband and wife in New York and either spouse is a resident of the state at the time of the commencement of the divorce action and resided in this state for a continuous period of one year immediately before the action began.

The grounds for divorce occurred in New York and either spouse is a resident of the state at the time of the commencement of the divorce action and resided in the state for a continuous period of one year immediately before the action began.

The grounds for divorce occurred in New York and both spouses are New York residents at the time the action is commenced.

If the parties were married outside of New York and have never lived together as husband and wife in the state and the grounds for divorce did not occur in New York then, one spouse must presently be a resident of New York and have resided continuously in the state for at least two years prior to filing an action for divorce.

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