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New York Divorce Laws

Just as states have regulations on the marriage process, so too do they have them for divorce. The legal requirements for divorce define the procedures a person must go through in order to get divorced. The applicability of New York's divorce laws is based on the length of the state and county residency and also includes waiting periods. In New York, you can base your divorce on either fault or "no-fault" grounds.

This article provides a brief overview of divorce laws in the state of New York.

New York Divorce Laws: Legal Grounds

In addition to no-fault divorce, New York allows divorce if one of the parties is able to prove one of the following causes (or faults):

  • Cruel and inhumane treatment
  • Abandonment for at least a year (continuously)
  • Three years or more of incarceration
  • Adultery

The following table outlines the basic legal requirements for divorce in New York. For more information, see Details on State Requirements for DivorceDivorce and Out-of-Court Proceedings: Alternative Dispute Resolution, and An Overview of Fault and No-Fault Divorce Law to learn more.

Code Section

§ 230 et seq. of the New York Consolidated Laws

Residency Requirements

Were married in the state or reside in the state as spouses and either party has been resident one year before commencing suit; cause occurred in New York and both parties are residents at the commencement of suit; either has been resident for two years

Waiting Period


'No-Fault' Grounds for Divorce

Separation (one year or more) six months for no fault grounds

Defenses to a Divorce Filing

Adultery: Offense committed with plaintiff's connivance; offense forgiven (shown affirmatively, by voluntary cohabitation, or by no action commenced within 5 yrs. of discovery of offense); plaintiff also guilty of adultery; the defendant may set up the misconduct of plaintiff as justification

Other Grounds for Divorce

Adultery; cruel and inhuman treatment; abandonment (for one or more years); imprisonment of the defendant for three or more consecutive yrs; legally separated for a year or more

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law:

New York Divorce Laws: Related Resources

Learn More About New York Divorce Laws from a Lawyer

Since divorce is typically an adversarial process, the best way to protect your interests is to consult with an experienced divorce attorney near you. A legal professional will ensure that no stone is left unturned and can also help with such delicate matters as child custody.

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