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New York Divorce Laws

The applicability of New York's divorce laws are based on the length of state and county residency and also include waiting periods. In the Empire State, you can base your divorce on either fault or "no-fault" grounds, or you can base the dissolution on spouses being separated for at least 12 months (either through a judgment or mutual agreement).

New York added no-fault divorces for the first time in 2010, the last state to do so. Prior to that, parties to an uncontested divorce would agree to choose a fault in order to finalize the process.

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 Divorce, Divorce and Out-of-Court Proceedings: Alternative Dispute Resolution, and An Overview of Fault and No-Fault Divorce Law to learn more.

Code Section Dom. Rel. §§170, 171, 202, 230, 231
Residency Requirements Were married in state or reside in state as husband and wife and either party has been resident 1 yr. before commencing suit; cause occurred in New York and both parties are resident at commencement of suit; either has been resident for 2 yrs.
Waiting Period -
'No Fault' Grounds for Divorce Separation (1 yr. or more).
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; defendant may set up misconduct of plaintiff as justification.
Other Grounds for Divorce Adultery; cruel and inhuman treatment; abandonment (for 1 or more years); imprisonment of defendant for 3 or more consecutive yrs; lived apart for 1 or more yrs.

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.

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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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