In addition to the resolution of financial and child custody issues in a divorce, a court will grant a divorce to one party or the other based upon specifically enumerated reasons set forth in a Verified Complaint. In New York State, the grounds for divorce are : cruel and inhuman treatment, adultery, abandonment, imprisonment, divorce after legal separation or judgment of separation, and most commonly, the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for a period of six months or more prior to the commencement of the divorce action. The latter ground is the closest ground New York State has to what is commonly referred to as a no-fault divorce.
Since its addition in 2010, many litigants choose to assert irretrievable breakdown as a ground for divorce for numerous reasons, despite the possible existence of another factual basis for the divorce.
With irretrievable breakdown presenting the most benign option for obtaining a divorce, many attorneys will suggest asserting this ground. While this means that there will be virtually no contentions regarding the legal basis for the dissolution of the marriage itself, it in no way effects the vigorous pursuit of your financial or other rights in a divorce action.
Often times, a party who wishes to assert a fault based ground is doing so for emotional reasons (hurt, anger vengeance, vindication, to cause the other party embarrassment, or merely to have his/her story told), which will be given little weight in the action, and may even interfere with an expeditious resolution.