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Long Island Family Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > What is the Difference Between a No-Fault and Fault-Based Divorce?

What is the Difference Between a No-Fault and Fault-Based Divorce?


In 2010, New York was the last state in the country to enact no-fault divorce laws. The purpose of a no-fault divorce is to avoid blaming either spouse for the divorce and to make proceedings less contentious. A no-fault divorce can also possibly shorten the length and lower the cost of divorce. Still, there are times when one spouse may have committed marital misconduct and the other party wants to pursue a fault-based divorce.

So, what are the grounds for each type of divorce and how do they differ? Below, our Long Island divorce lawyer explains the differences between the two.

Grounds for Fault-Based Divorce 

During a fault-based divorce, one party accuses their spouse of being responsible for the end of the marriage. The grounds for this type of divorce are as follows:

  • Adultery: One spouse may accuse the other of having an extramarital affair.
  • Abandonment: When one person refuses to have sexual relations with their spouse for one year or more, or when they physically abandon their spouse for the same amount of time, the abandoned spouse can file for divorce on these grounds.
  • Imprisonment: If one spouse must spend three or more years in jail, that is grounds for divorce.
  • Cruel and inhumane treatment: A person can file a petition for divorce if they believe they are in physical or mental danger and the court determines the marriage is unsafe.

When a person files for divorce on grounds of fault, they must also prove their case. For example, a person may file for divorce on the grounds of adultery. If they can prove their spouse had an extramarital affair, they may be able to receive more in alimony, especially if marital funds or property contributed to the affair.

Grounds for No-Fault Divorce 

There are also no-fault grounds spouses can use when filing for divorce. In these cases, neither spouse is blaming the other for the breakdown of the marriage. The grounds for no-fault divorce are as follows:

  • The spouses had a valid separation agreement and lived apart for one year,
  • The spouses lived apart for more than one year under the order of the Supreme Court through a judgment of separation,
  • The marriage has been irretrievably broken for at least six months.

A no-fault divorce often proceeds faster than fault-based divorces, which can also make them more affordable. Due to the fact that neither spouse is blamed for the divorce, these cases are often less contentious. Unfortunately, when one spouse does not want a divorce, a fault-based divorce may be the only option. It is also important to note that a no-fault divorce is not the same as an uncontested divorce, in which both spouses agree to all terms such as child custody, child support, and more.

Our Divorce Lawyer in Long Island Can Help with Your Case 

Regardless of whether you are pursuing a no-fault or fault-based divorce, you need legal counsel. At the Law Office of Joshua Adam Kittenplan, P.C., our Long Island divorce lawyer can provide it so you can obtain the best outcome possible. Call or text us today at 631-499-0606 or chat with us online to book a free consultation and to learn more.



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