What is a No-Fault Divorce in New York?

May 27th, 2024

New York No-Fault Divorce: Ending Your Marriage Without the Blame Game

Divorce proceedings in New York can feel overwhelming. It’s a difficult reality that many people face. If you’re wondering how to end your marriage with less blame and more focus on moving forward, a no-fault divorce in New York might be the right option for you.

Many couples choose a no-fault divorce because it’s often simpler and less stressful. This article will explain what a no-fault divorce is, how it works, and why it might be a good choice for you.

Quick Summary:

  • No-fault divorce in New York allows couples to end their marriage without proving fault, requiring only a statement that the marriage has irretrievably broken down for at least six months.
  • To get a no-fault divorce in New York, you need to show that your marriage has irretrievably broken down for at least six months. You must also fill out the required paperwork stating this without providing further evidence or details.
  • A no-fault divorce offers simplicity, less conflict, privacy, emotional relief, and cost-effectiveness by eliminating the need to prove fault and saving money on legal fees and court costs.
  • The no-fault divorce process in New York involves filing a petition, serving papers to the other spouse, responding to the petition, reaching a settlement agreement or attending court hearings if necessary, and finalizing the divorce with a judge’s review and issuance of a final judgment.

Understanding No-Fault Divorce

A no-fault divorce is a type of divorce where you don’t have to prove that your spouse did something wrong. Instead, you just need to say that your marriage has been broken for at least six months and cannot be fixed.

In the past, New York only allowed fault-based divorces. You had to prove that your spouse was at fault for the marriage ending. That often led to long, messy court battles. A no-fault divorce removes this element, making the process potentially less stressful and more focused on moving forward. This change made it easier for couples to end their marriages without blaming each other.

Legal Grounds for No-Fault Divorce in New York

In New York, getting a no-fault divorce is straightforward. Here are the legal grounds you need to meet for a no-fault divorce:

Irretrievable Breakdown

The main requirement for a no-fault divorce in New York is to show that your marriage has experienced an “irretrievable breakdown” for at least six months. That means your relationship is beyond repair, and there’s no hope of fixing it.

Duration Requirement

You must state that the irretrievable breakdown lasted for at least six months. That means you and your spouse have not been able to get along for at least half a year, and you don’t believe things will get better.

Legal Documentation

To start a no-fault divorce, you must fill out the necessary paperwork. That includes a sworn statement that your marriage has been broken for at least six months. You don’t need to provide any other evidence or details about why the marriage is ending.

Benefits of No-Fault Divorce

A no-fault divorce can make the challenging process of ending a marriage easier for everyone involved. Here are some of the key benefits: 


A no-fault divorce is simpler because you don’t have to prove that your spouse did something wrong. That makes the process less complicated and faster. You don’t have to go through a long court battle to prove fault. Instead, you can focus on moving forward with your life.

Less Conflict

In a no-fault divorce, there’s no need to blame your spouse for the end of the marriage. That can reduce anger and fighting between you and your spouse. Less conflict can make it easier to reach agreements on important issues like dividing property, child custody, and support.


No-fault divorces keep your private life out of the courtroom. Since you don’t have to prove wrongdoing, there’s no need to share personal details about your marriage in court. That helps protect your privacy and dignity.

Emotional Relief

Divorce is emotional, but a no-fault divorce can be less stressful. You can focus on healing and moving forward By avoiding the need to prove fault. That can be better for your mental health and well-being.


Fault-based divorce often involves lengthy court battles, which means lawyer fees can add up quickly.  No-fault divorce, on the other hand, is typically a simpler process. Because a no-fault divorce is usually quicker and involves less conflict, it can also be less expensive. You save money on legal fees and court costs, making it a more affordable option.

The No-Fault Divorce Process in New York

You should understand the process first if you’re thinking about getting a divorce in New York. Here are the steps involved in a no-fault divorce:

Filing the Petition

To start the divorce process, one spouse needs to file a petition with the court. You’ll also need to fill out some paperwork and pay a filing fee.

Serving the Papers

After filing the petition, the other spouse needs to be served with divorce papers. That means they must be given a copy of the petition and other documents. That can be done by mail or in person.


Once served, the other spouse has a certain amount of time to respond to the petition. They can agree with the terms of the divorce or contest them. If they contest, it may lead to negotiations or court hearings.

Settlement Agreement

Once you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce, you can create a settlement agreement. This agreement outlines crucial things like who gets what property, who will have custody of the children, and how much child support or spousal support will be paid.

This agreement is critical because it helps you both avoid going to court and lets you have more control over the outcome of your divorce.

Finalizing the Divorce

Once everything is settled, the divorce can be finalized. That usually involves a court hearing where a judge reviews the agreement and issues a final judgment. Once the judgment is signed, the divorce is official.

How Our East Islip Family Law Attorney Can Help in Your No-Fault Divorce

Experiencing a divorce can be challenging, but a no-fault divorce in New York can make the process smoother. It lets you end your marriage without placing blame and allows you both to move forward on the right foot.

At Donato Law, our East Islip family law attorneys can explain your rights under New York divorce laws. We’ll handle all the necessary paperwork for your no-fault divorce, ensuring everything is filled out correctly and submitted on time. If you and your spouse need to negotiate terms like property division or child custody, we’ll advocate for your interests and help you reach a fair agreement.

If you’re considering a no-fault divorce in New York, our family law firm is here to support you. Contact us now to schedule a free consultation, and let us help you move forward with your life.

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