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New York: Residency requirements in a no-fault divorce

If your marriage is no longer working to the benefit of you or your spouse, you may wish to turn to a divorce. In New York, couples typically opt for a no-fault divorce. This means that neither you nor your spouse has to be blamed for the ending of the marriage. Instead, you can simply say that the marriage has broken down and is impossible to repair.

New York did not become a no-fault state until 2010. Before then, a couple would have to allege a cause for the marital breakdown in order to get a divorce. That would have meant alleging (and sometimes proving) adultery or one of the other acceptable causes, or "grounds," for divorce that are approved by the state.

Today, "no-fault" divorces mean that there are no such barriers to your future if you decide to end a marriage.

How do you qualify for a no-fault divorce?

You'll have to show that you satisfy the state's residency requirements first. For most couples, this means that one member of the couple must have lived in the state for two years prior to the date of the divorce action. This period of time also has to be continuous prior to the divorce.

You can also meet the residency requirements for a no-fault divorce if either of you resided in the state for a year before you began the divorce process, so long as you were also married in New York or lived in the state at some point as a married couple.

Residency requirements are just some of the complex issues that can arise in any divorce case. An attorney can help guide you through the process to make it go more smoothly.

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