Until just a couple of months ago, if you wanted to get divorced in New York State you had to plead and prove fault grounds to be granted a divorce by the court. This basically meant that in order to get of your failed marriage you had to accuse your spouse of adultery, cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment, or other equally morally degrading acts. Not only did you have to accuse your spouse of one or more of these grounds for divorce, you had to prove to the New York Supreme Court that they were true. This complicated things.
In the case of adultery, New York has very stringent standards that do not even allow as sufficient proof a spouse’s own admission to adultery. Scorned spouse’s would desperately want to prove that their husband or wife had cheated on them as their final act of retribution, but sometimes they could not meet the high bar that New York set to prove adultery. You would have to spend a lot of money on attorneys’ fees, risk further hurting your family in an ugly divorce and waste a lot of time trying to meet these burdens of proof at trial. As you can see, the old system of fault based divorce was archaic at best and the cause of a lot of problems that are finally now avoided with the new no-fault regime.
Under the new New York no-fault divorce law, you can get divorced if your marriage has been “irretrievably” broken for six months. This means that as long as you and your spouse agree that you want to get divorced and will not argue the fact that your marriage has not been working for six months you can get divorced. Although, there is one caveat to New York’s no-fault divorce law: you need to have been married for at least six months in order to claim that your marriage has been failing for six months. You would be surprised how many calls our law firm gets from people who have been married for a month or two and already want out.