Until recently, New York was a fault divorce state.  Meaning, you could only obtain a divorce for one of the following six grounds:

  • Cruel and Inhuman Treatment
  • Abandonment
  • Imprisonment
  • Adultery
  • Judicial Separation
  • Separation by Agreement

Filing a fault divorce requires that the ground is factually proved as the reason for the divorce.

New York recently enacted an additional provision for divorce, a no-fault cause of action.  Under a no-fault divorce, a party must allege that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months.  However, a Court cannot grant a divorce based upon no-fault grounds until all other issues of the divorce such as support, custody and equitable distribution have been resolved.

Divorces, both fault and no-fault, can be filed as contested or uncontested matters.  But in both cases, New York must have jurisdiction over the matter.  That is to say that the parties must meet the residency requirements in order for a New York Court to hear the case.

In order for a divorce case to be heard in New York, contested or uncontested, you must meet one of the three requirements:

I.      One of the parties is and has been a resident of the State of New York for a continuous period of one year before the action was started AND

  1. The Parties were married in New York; or
  2. The Parties resided in New York as husband and wife; or
  3. The grounds for divorce occurred in New York.


II.      The grounds for divorce occurred in New York and both parties are residents at the time of the divorce.


III.      Either party was a resident of the State of New York for a continuous period of two years before the commencement of the divorce.

For more information please contact Ross S. Gelber at 716-632-5919 or at rgelber@rossgelberlaw.com.