A 2010 big change in the law means that someone can get a divorce if they want it, regardless of whether the other person wants it or not.
New York State recently joined all other states to permit a no-fault divorce. Until October of 2010, you could only get a divorce in New York, if you could prove fault. Now, you must reach agreement with your spouse about all relevant issues (See Issues to Resolve), sign a separation agreement, and then you can proceed with an uncontested divorce, or you can bring a divorce lawsuit, in which you ask for the divorce on any of the following grounds:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for a period in excess of six months;
- Abandonment for more than one year without just cause
- Refusal to have sexual relations for more than one year without just explanation
- Cruel and inhuman treatment sufficient to harm your physical or emotional welfare.
Each of these grounds have technical requirements, but the bulk of divorces are brought on the first ground — irretrievable breakdown of the marriage — because the law does not really provide for any defense against such a claim. As a result, if you or your spouse really wants a divorce, the other person may not be able to do anything about it. However, all of the financial and child related issues must be resolved, either by agreement between the parties, or by Court direction, before the divorce will be granted.