New York, like many other states, allows couples to divorce based on fault or no-fault grounds. New York does not require couples to show just cause for their divorce, but couples must provide some proof to the court that their circumstances meet one of the state's allowed divorce grounds.
Under New York law, couples can divorce on several fault-based grounds, meaning the spouse seeking divorce must prove to the court that the ground exists before the court can grant the divorce. These grounds include cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment, imprisonment and adultery. They are fault-based grounds because the divorcing spouse must prove the other spouse is at fault. New York also allows separated couples to divorce based on their separation. Couples with a separation agreement or separation decree can later acquire a final divorce decree based on the ground that they are living apart under such agreement or decree. Generally, couples in New York must live apart for at least a year to obtain a divorce based on separation pursuant to a separation agreement.
As of October 12, 2010, New York couples can obtain a no-fault divorce by establishing that their relationship is irretrievably broken. At least one spouse must swear under oath that the relationship has been irretrievably broken for at least six months -- and the parties must resolve their economic and other issues, or have the court resolve them, before the court will issue a final decree.