When a marriage breaks down, it’s common to want to place blame on one party. In fact, it used to be a legal requirement for divorce. Now, this isn’t the case and it’s possible to file a divorce where neither party accepts blame for the breakdown of the marriage. This is called a no-fault divorce. Is New York a no-fault divorce state? Here’s what you should know.
The Difference Between a Fault and No-Fault Divorce
In the simplest terms, a fault divorce means that one party did something that caused the marriage to become irreparable. Typically, these are egregious issues that have few, if any, remedies such as adultery or spousal abandonment.
A no-fault divorce means that nobody did anything to cause the marriage to become untenable. Reasons given for this type of divorce might be irreconcilable differences, meaning that the couple just doesn’t get along anymore.
Is New York a No-Fault Divorce State?
Is New York a no-fault divorce state? This question is one that’s asked by many couples exploring their options for dissolving a marriage in the Empire State. The answer is both yes and no.
Grounds for Divorce In New York
You have the option to file either a no-fault or fault divorce in New York. This means that New York is not a true no-fault state. A true no-fault state does not give couples the option to blame either party. There are 17 true no fault states, including but not limited to California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Washington, D.C.
In New York, if you choose to file a fault divorce, you will need to choose from one of the following accepted grounds for divorce in the state:
- Abandonment for more than 365 consecutive days
- Treatment that is particularly inhumane or cruel
- Incarceration following the marriage for more than three years
- Living separately for more than a year either for the purpose of obtaining a legal separation or after a separation judgment has been issued
There are some grounds for divorce other states allow that New York does not. For example, impotency, mental or physical health problems, and substance abuse are not acceptable grounds for divorce in New York.
Why Would I File a Fault or No-Fault Divorce in New York?
There are different reasons for filing a fault or no-fault divorce in New York. Which is the right type of divorce for you depends on a number of factors, including but not limited to your income and assets, if you share children with your spouse, and the general circumstances surrounding your divorce.
Benefits of Filing a No-Fault Divorce
There are numerous recognized benefits to filing a no-fault divorce, such as:
- No-fault divorces tend to be faster and less expensive than fault divorces.
- Children aren’t given a parent to blame for the breakdown of the family.
- No-fault divorces are generally less contentious and may be able to be mediated.
Cons of Filing a No-Fault Divorce
Although no-fault divorce is highly praised, there are some cons to be aware of, like:
- In some religions, a no-fault divorce may not be an acceptable reason for the separation of a wedded couple.
Benefits of Filing a Fault Divorce
Contrary to popular belief, there may be some benefits in certain situations to filing a fault divorce, such as:
- If your spouse has significant assets, you may stand to gain a greater share of them in the divorce if they were at fault for the marital breakdown.
- If your spouse committed an egregious act that endangers your children, filing a fault divorce may give you more grounds to protect them in child custody proceedings.
Cons of Filing a Fault Divorce
Naturally, there are several downsides to filing a fault divorce, including:
- A fault divorce is more likely to become contested, which can be time consuming and costly.
- If you have children, a fault divorce may cause your children to place blame on one parent, potentially damaging their relationship.
Get Help Now From a Veteran New York Divorce Attorney
Deciding whether to opt for a fault or no-fault divorce in New York can be challenging. Get help from an experienced divorce lawyer in Manhattan as soon as possible, regardless of which side of the divorce you are on.
Veteran family law attorney Heidi E. Opinsky can help you navigate the challenges presented by a New York divorce, no matter which way you or your spouse has filed. Call now to learn more or to book your initial consultation by dialing 203-653-3542.