Westchester Family Law Attorney Explains: Divorce and Separation in New York


New York State Divorce and Separation actions are heard and decided by the New York State Supreme Court in accordance with the New York State Domestic Relations Law which establishes the legal grounds (or reasons) for a divorce.

Legal Grounds for Divorce in New York

A divorce may be granted on either fault or no-fault grounds.

Fault Grounds

In order to establish and obtain a divorce using one of the fault grounds, a party must assert and prove certain items to the Court.

The fault grounds are:

  • Cruel and inhuman treatment. This ground requires conduct on the part of one spouse that endangers the physical or mental well-being of the complaining party so much so that it renders it unsafe or improper for that party to continue to cohabit or live with his or her spouse.
  • Abandonment of the complaining party by his or her spouse for a period of one or more years.
  • Incarceration. Meaning the confinement of one spouse in prison for a period of three or more consecutive years after the marriage occurs.
  • An act of adultery by one spouse.

No-Fault Grounds

The no fault grounds for divorce do not require that any misconduct be proven by one spouse against the other.

The no-fault grounds include:

  • The parties have lived apart pursuant to a judgment of separation for one or more years and the spouse seeking the divorce demonstrates that he or she has substantially performed all of the terms and conditions of the judgment.
  • The parties have lived apart pursuant to a written Agreement of Separation for one or more years. The Agreement must be shown have been signed with certain legal formalities and filed in the Office of the Clerk of the County where either spouse resides.
  • There has been an irretrievable breakdown of the relationship between the parties for a period of at least six months. This ground requires that the husband or wife state under oath that the marriage has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months. No defenses are available to the other spouse to prevent a divorce on that ground.

Contested Divorces in Westchester County, New York

Despite the introduction of the No Fault Divorce Statute in New York State, many cases still require the intervention of the Court to resolve issues that the parties can not settle on their own. The issues that are most often contested in divorce actions are property division, child custody, spousal support, and child support.

There is no question that contested divorces can be stressful for the whole family. We try to alleviate that stress by working closely with our clients to resolve issues in a cost-effective and reasonable manner.

Get a Top Divorce Attorney to Help You with your Westchester Divorce

If have are considering divorce or separation, it is important to have a proven and effective divorce attorney on your side. At Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP, we have helped countless people with all types of divorce and separation matters.

Call for Free Consultation to find out how we can help you.

Contact Us at (914) 946-4808.