Divorce & Separation

When a Judgment of Divorce is granted, it dissolves and terminates a marriage. When a couple is legally separated, that means that they have entered into a legally binding agreement with each other or the court has issued a judgment of separation that allows them to live apart and clarifies each person's rights and obligations to each other and to any minor children they may have. Legally separated couples are not able to marry until a Judgment of Divorce is granted. We strive to help our clients separate and divorce in the most non-adversarial and respectful way possible. Because each client's circumstances are unique, we are always looking for creative solutions that meet the individual needs of you and your family.

Divorces in New York can be contested or uncontested. In a contested divorce, the parties determine that they will not be able to come to an agreement outside of court and they will need a judge to make decisions for their family and/or finances. In order to commence a contested or uncontested action for divorce, one party - known as the plaintiff - needs to allege grounds. As of October 12, 2010, there are 7 grounds for divorce in New York:

  1. Cruel and Inhuman Treatment
  2. Abandonment for one or more years
  3. Imprisonment for three or more years
  4. Adultery
  5. Living apart pursuant to a judgment of separation for one year
  6. Living apart pursuant to a signed separation agreement for one year
  7. Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for six months.

This 7th ground - requiring that just one spouse needs to allege that there has been an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage - brings New York into line with the 50 other states that have no fault divorce. But even in a no fault divorce, the final judgment of divorce will not be signed until all of the relevant issues are resolved by agreement or court order. These issues include the division of property, child custody and visitation, spousal support, child custody, medical insurance and more.