Select Page

Should I File a Fault or No-Fault Divorce?

by | Apr 21, 2020 | divorce, News and Events

Determining how to file for divorce to obtain the best outcome can be difficult. Here’s what you need to know about the two different types of divorce options in New York, fault and no-fault divorce, and how to decide which is best for your unique circumstances.

Divorce Attorney Consultation

Fault Divorce

In the past, a divorce could only legally be granted if one spouse showed wrongdoing on the part of the other, usually egregious in nature. When filing for divorce in this manner, the “fault” of the failed marriage lies with the individual who committed the wrongdoing. This could sometimes lead courts to favor the “innocent” spouse, awarding them more property or ordering the “guilty” spouse to pay more alimony. A fault divorce may be contested, meaning that the spouse shouldering the blame argues that they were not at fault for the breakdown of the marriage, or that it was the other spouse who committed the wrongdoing that should result in divorce.

No-Fault Divorce

No-fault divorce is a much more common form of divorce today, which allows a marriage to be dissolved with neither spouse assigning fault to the other. Often citing “irreconcilable differences,” a no-fault divorce does not require the demonstration of wrongdoing on the part of either spouse for the divorce to be granted.

Is New York a Fault State?

All states in the U.S. now allow for no-fault divorces. Some, however, still allow for fault divorces.

Grounds for Divorce on Long Island

If you wish to file for a divorce on Long Island, you must have one of the seven allowable grounds to do so, the first of which is a no-fault divorce:

  1. Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. The relationship has been over for a minimum of six months and both individuals are ready to move forward with the legal dissolution of the marriage.
  2. Abandonment. An individual may file for a fault divorce in New York if their spouse has abandoned them for a period of at least one year. This includes physical abandonment and refusal of sexual relations.
  3. Adultery. If one spouse cheats on the other, this may be cited as grounds for a fault divorce. This may be difficult to prove, however, since evidence is needed to support the claim of adultery.
  4. Cruel and inhuman treatment. If one spouse has treated the other cruelly and the victimized spouse has been mentally and physically in danger within the last five years, a fault divorce may be granted.
  5. Incarceration. A person may file for a fault divorce if their spouse has been imprisoned for a minimum of three consecutive years. This grounds for divorce may be used while the offending spouse is incarcerated, or up to five years following their release.
  6. Divorce after issuance of a separation judgment. Used infrequently, this ground requires the Supreme Court to draft a separation agreement wherein a married couple live apart for one year prior to the dissolution of the marriage.
  7. Divorce after legal separation. This is a common grounds for divorce if the couple has been legally separated for at least a year prior to filing.

Filing a No-Fault Divorce Even if Fault Exists

Often, grounds for divorce exist when a marriage becomes unsalvageable. However, it may not necessarily be in your best interest to file for a fault divorce using one of the available grounds. No-fault divorces can frequently proceed uncontested, which means you and your spouse agree on all matters regarding the divorce, including property division, alimony, child custody, and other pertinent issues. A no-fault divorce often costs less time and money than fighting a fault divorce in court.

Considering Your Divorce Options? Contact an Experienced Long Island Divorce Attorney

If you’re considering dissolving your marriage or have been served with divorce papers by your spouse, you face many obstacles ahead. Whether you decide to file for a fault or no-fault divorce, it’s critical to have someone in your corner who can advise you of your legal options and help you make informed decisions. By working with an experienced Long Island divorce attorney, you can increase the chances that you’ll achieve the best outcome possible. Contact Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. today for more information by calling 631-923-1910.


Call 631-923-1910 or fill in the form below

Schedule your complimentary consultation and case evaluation with our experienced attorneys today. When you call, you’ll speak to our friendly Client Services Director, who will be able to answer your general questions and set up your appointment with an attorney who specializes in your unique case.

At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

No Cost or Obligation

There is no cost or obligation for this initial consultation. It is simply an opportunity for us to get to know each other, answer your questions and learn if Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. is right the right law firm for you. Give us a call at 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form below to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.

All Fields Are Required

Divorce Lawyer Attorney Long Island NY Courts Open
Divorce Lawyer Long Island New York



Google Review of divorce longisland
Tammy Granville
Tammy Granville
11:49 04 Jul 21
Everyone was very professional. Never had to call to get an update on my case. Someone always updated me on a regular basis.
Anastasia R
Anastasia R
22:45 17 Dec 20
I went to see Rob for a modification for my child custody agreement to relocate, I can honestly say that working with Rob and Christine has been the best experience. I cannot recommend them enough I only wish I had seen them sooner. They are prompt with communication, and they are honest which I appreciate so much. They do not give you fake promises and they do their best to fight for what you want which they do amazingly well! You can tell they are passionate about what they do and care about their clients. A very important aspect of lawyer client relationship for me is an open line of communication, the anxiety of the unknown always gets the best of us. The fact they were always available whether it be phone call or email to answer any question was extremely comforting and exactly what I needed. I am not well versed with laws and regulation so knowing I had Rob and his partners there when I was unsure or conflicted was extremely needed and greatly appreciated.When it comes to family court it's never easy but having Rob and his partner by my side I felt extremely comfortable and he helped me have realistic expectations. Please TRUST HIM!! If you're looking for a lawyer (at least for my end from child custody/Family Court) don't look any further you will not be disappointed. I hope to never have to use them again but in the event I have to, they are going to be my forever first call.


  • I have known Robert for more than 8 eight years. Robert has represented many of my family and friends. Each and every one has raved about Robert’s professionalism and expertise. He is knowledgable, friendly and truly cares about his clients. I would not hesitate to continue to refer Robert and his firm in the future!
  • I’ve known Robert for most of my life, and feel very fortunate that I have been able to turn to a good friend for various kinds of legal advice. He is very intelligent, straight forward, and professional. Most importantly though, Robert always finds the fastest resolution, and will not waste your time or money. He is NOT in the habit of dragging things through litigation if there is no need for the added expense. I have referred a few of my friends to Robert, and they have all been more than satisfied in their experience with him. Highly recommend!!



divorce questions answered



Long Island Divorce Guide

Fill the form to download Guide

* indicates required


Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., P.C. respects your right to privacy. We will never sell your information to any third party. Follow this link to read our full privacy policy.


Child Support & Spousal Maintenance Tools
Spousal Maintenance Calculator
Child Support Calculator

Pin It on Pinterest