Is a Legal Separation Require Before Divorce in New York?

We get a lot of calls from people who think that they need to get legally separated for a year before the New York courts will grant them a divorce.  This is not true.

Although the New York State Legislature has passed a no-fault divorce law, it still is not law until the Governor signs it.  Right now you still need to prove grounds for divorce in New York.

One of the grounds for divorce is living separate and apart pursuant to a legal separation agreement for a year.  The separation agreement must be filed with the County Clerk to be valid.

Once the year has passed, then you can file for a no-fault conversion divorce (this is the only time New York law allows couples to get a no-fault divorce).  The terms of the separation agreement are made into the terms of the divorce.

This is not the only way to get divorced.  If you can prove abandonment, constructive abandonment, imprisonment, cruel and inhuman treatment or adultery then you can get a New York divorce.

Our law firm offers free consultation regarding separation agreements and New York divorce.  To schedule your free consultation call (866) 830-2064.  We serve all of New York State.

2 replies
  1. Sunshine
    Sunshine says:

    Hi, just had a question, didn’t quite understand what was written above so I had to ask lol. My husband and I have been married for 4 1/2 years and want a divorce, but I can’t really get a straight answer as to whether or not we need to be separated first, or can we just go in and sign papers and get it done? We still live together currently. If you could let me know if we do need to separate first or not that’d be great thanks. Btw we live in NY state in Erie county.


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