What do no-fault divorce laws in New York mean for spouses?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2024 | Divorce

Not every married couple in New York maintains their relationship until one spouse dies. Some couples encounter issues that force them to reevaluate the relationship. Divorce is a common experience, and many people do not know what to expect.

The laws for divorce are different in every state, and the way that the media depicts divorce proceedings can give people very unrealistic expectations. Someone considering divorce may need to learn about when they can file and how the courts handle different matters. New York offers no-fault divorces for those seeking to legally end a marriage. What does no-fault divorce typically mean for the parties preparing to file a divorce?

There is no need to prove marital issues

Prior to the passage of the New York no-fault divorce law, people could only file for divorce in specific scenarios. The law in New York allows for divorce in cases of abuse, abandonment, adultery, imprisonment and formal separation.

Those seeking to divorce for one of those reasons would need to prove that their circumstances meet the criteria established in New York state law. The other spouse can potentially defend against a fault-based divorce filing by showing that their circumstances do not meet the standard established in New York law. Those who pursue no-fault proceedings only need to assert in court that the marital relationship has experienced an irretrievable breakdown that has lasted for at least six months.

Fault doesn’t factor into major decisions

If there is any negative component to a no-fault divorce, it would be how spousal misconduct does not impact the outcome of divorce proceedings. Infidelity, abuse or other types of misconduct usually have minimal or no impact on property division matters, custody determinations and support requests.

Only in rare cases where people signed prenuptial agreements with penalty clauses or have proof that their spouse dissipated marital assets can they expect the courts to consider misconduct as part of litigated divorce proceedings. No-fault divorces overall can be quite beneficial as they are usually faster and therefore less expensive than fault-based divorces.

Understanding the different options for ending a marriage in New York may help people choose the best path forward while navigating a difficult situation.