Divorce may prove difficult for all parties involved, and many couples do not make the decision to divorce quickly or lightly. Yet for others, the decision to separate turned out to be a matter of safety or necessity.

New York law, although not required, allows for a party to claim fault in a divorce case. Claiming fault may give you a better chance of obtaining custody of your children or receiving more assets after separation. If your marriage ended directly due to an action of your spouse, you may wish to cite a fault in your divorce proceedings.

Fault states versus no-fault states

Most of the United States operates as no-fault states. New York proves one of them. However, strictly no-fault states do not require or accept reasons that lead to your divorce to be cited in court–you must simply file, and the court distributes your assets based on equitable distribution or community property laws.

Because New York does not operate as a strictly no-fault state, you have the ability to offer specific examples of how your ex-spouse made decisions that lead to your divorce. Doing so, you may be eligible for any larger share of assets including:

  • Sole custody
  • Increased monetary settlements
  • The family home

Grounds for fault in New York

The state of New York offers four faults upon which you may cite reasons for divorce. Each fault requires proof to be admissible in court.

  1. Cruel and inhuman treatment: You may give examples of emotional abuse and domestic violence. The court may require your documentation of hospital visits or medical records.
  2. Adultery: In cheating cases, some spouses choose to hire private investigators to obtain evidence. Under New York law, grounds for divorce includes a lack of commitment.
  3. Imprisonment: If your spouse is currently serving time, a court may find fault.
  4. Abandonment: If your spouse has left you for a year or more without the intention of returning, you may demonstrate this as a reason for divorce.

Divorcing spouses should understand that divorces that cite fault prove lengthy. Investigations and splitting assets requires time and analysis. Grueling, emotional hearings take place. Yet if you experience the fault grounds for divorce, you hope to obtain comparable retribution by directing blame on your ex-spouse.