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What is a no-fault divorce in NYC?

December 3, 2018 Our Blog

When you file for divorce from your spouse, you will need to explain the cause of the divorce. Marriage and divorce laws differ in each state, and you’ll need to follow different procedures depending on your jurisdiction. The list of acceptable divorce reasons is varied from state to state as well. In New York, there are two types of divorces: fault and no fault.

If you file a “fault” divorce, this means you’re accusing your spouse of behavior that led to the breakdown of the marriage. Fault divorces are more complicated than no-fault divorces, since the offending spouse’s actions must be taken into account in a judgment. For a fault divorce to be filed, usually some form of abandonment, cruelty, or adultery must be involved. These situations occur when one member of the marriage breaks their marriage vows. This means that they’ve violated a legally binding contract, and their spouse has the right to sue.

In the past, “fault” divorces were the only types of divorces allowed. A spouse had to prove their spouse had committed wrongdoing before a court would grant them a divorce. Nowadays, though, fault divorces are rare. In fact, some states no longer allow them. “No fault” divorces are far more common.

Most marriages don’t break down due to one individual’s wrongdoing. Instead, both individuals gradually grow apart until they don’t love each other like they used to. They may wish for the chance to live independently rather than together. When no one individual is to blame for the marriage’s breakdown, you’ll file a no fault divorce.

No Fault Divorces

A no fault divorce is exactly what it sounds like. This type of divorce occurs if no one is guilty of breaking down the marriage. Rather than one person violating the marriage vows, both people have mutually agreed that their relationship is over. To file for a no fault divorce, both involved parties must believe that repairing the marriage is impossible, but that the vows weren’t broken.

No fault divorces also tend to be referred to as divorce due to irreconcilable differences between the parties. They may also apply to situations in which a couple just can’t get along. It’s natural for people to change as they become older and gain more life experience. Sometimes two people who used to have a lot in common will naturally grow in different directions. Several years down the road, you may find that you’re entirely different people.

If you want to file a no fault divorce in New York, you must provide proof that there have been attempts to reconcile the marital issues. You must also show that there was no way to reach a common ground.

New York state law requires that couples be separated for a minimum of six months before a no fault divorce can be officially filed. This time period is in place to make sure you have time to consider the divorce, rather than filing it impulsively in a moment of anger.

The Difference Between Fault and No Fault Cases

A no fault divorce doesn’t blame one individual. Because of this, you’ll be expected to work constructively with your spouse to reach an agreement.

The court will recognize your no fault divorce. Both spouses have to negotiate the way that assets will be split. If there are any children of the marriage, custody arrangements and child support must also be agreed upon. A divorce won’t be granted until you’ve detailed plans for property division, child support, spousal support, and a custody arrangement.

Sometimes people have a hard time coming up with an arrangement that makes all parties happy. In these cases, the lawyers for both parties tend to work together to come up with a compromise that’s fair for everyone.

If You’re Ready to File

When any legal situation arises, you should get the counsel of an experienced lawyer. A divorce attorney will understand the ins and outs of divorce proceedings. They can make sure you and your spouse come to the best agreement possible. They’ll also ensure that you file the correct paperwork with the correct courts.

The court system can be overwhelming, especially when individual marriage circumstances vary so much. Your attorney will be able to review the circumstances of your divorce and explain your options. They’ll also be your best advocate in both the negotiation and with the judge. You can explain what you want to your attorney, and they’ll do their best to get it for you.

Can I get engaged before my divorce papers are signed?

In the state of New York, you can get engaged, but not married, while waiting for your divorce to finalize. An engagement is not a legally binding issue, which is why you can engaged, without having to worry about your divorce. Unfortunately, if you wish to get married, then that’s another issue. In the state of New York, in order to get married – you need to get a judgement of divorce. Without this judgement, you cannot get married legally. This is typical in most states. You have to wait for the divorce to finalize, before asking for a new marriage license to be granted.

Until you get your judgement of divorce, you are still – technically, legally married to your original spouse. Without this judgement, you cannot get married again – or a new marriage license.

So, to answer the question – you can get engaged, but you cannot get married again. If you get married, it’ll be a legal problem. Typically, we suggest getting engaged after your divorce is finalized. In some cases, your spouse can use your engagement against you. If your relationship with your new fiancee started before your divorce was initialized – this can be misconstrued as a sign of infidelity – and be used against you in your divorce proceedings.

So technically, while you can get engaged – we recommend you wait until your divorce is finalized before making any lifelong decisions!

If you need more information, please consider speaking to one of our NYC Divorce Attorneys today. 



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