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No-Fault Ground Makes Uncontested Divorce in NY Much Simpler

by Seth Azria on 12/26/2018

On August 16, 2010, New York State finally joined every other state in the nation by enacting a no-fault divorce law effective October 14, 2010. With this new law, a judge may grant a divorce when a marriage has been “irretrievably broken” for a period of more than 6 months as established by the sworn statement of only one party.

Previously, a husband or wife, faced with an uncooperative spouse, could only obtain a divorce in New York if he or she could prove fault-based grounds such as cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment, or adultery. These restrictions no longer apply under the no-fault law.

The highlights of the New York no-fault law are:

  • A divorce may be granted when the relationship between a husband and wife “has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six (6) months.”
  • In order to commence an action for divorce under the new no-fault law, the parties must have been married for at least six (6) months.
  • Proof that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” is supplied merely by one party stating so under oath (this statement is included in the Plaintiff’s affidavit).
  • The court may not grant a judgment of divorce, however, until all the economic issues of the divorce, and all issues involving any children, are resolved by the parties (through a stipulation or separation agreement) or determined by the court.
  • The new law became effective October 14, 2010.

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