Albany Family Law Blog

The difference between a fault and no-fault divorce

Posted by Joanne P. Monagan, Esq. | Mar 27, 2023 | 0 Comments

In Albany, couples can decide whether to pursue a fault or no-fault divorce. The latter implies that no one was responsible for the marriage ending. The purpose of a no-fault divorce is to avoid putting the blame on anyone, as that could give rise to more points of contention during the divorce proceedings.

However, divorce does not happen overnight; one may have given up on the relationship or done something so explicitly wrong that it ruined the marriage. If the other spouse is not amenable to the divorce despite the pain you suffered, you may want to pursue a fault divorce.

Either way, both divorce proceedings need to be based on legal grounds.

What are the grounds for a divorce?

Because a fault divorce requires one spouse to be accountable for the marriage ending, the grounds are more egregious.

The grounds for a fault divorce are:

  • Adultery: If a spouse was sexually involved with a third party
  • Abandonment: If a spouse abandons the petitioner for a year or more by physically leaving home or by refusing to have sex with them
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment: If the petitioner is mentally and physically in danger, and the court finds their marriage is no longer safe
  • Imprisonment: If a spouse faces incarceration after the marriage and the jail time is three or more years

The no-fault divorce grounds are:

  • The spouses were living apart for one year under a valid separation agreement.
  • The spouses were living apart for more than a year, as ordered by the Supreme Court through a judgment of separation.
  • There is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for a minimum of six months.

Couples often go for the no-fault divorce proceeding because it is the faster and more affordable route. However, if the other spouse does not want to divorce, then they may have to take the road less traveled.

Why pursue a fault divorce?

Fault divorces allow for a more immediate divorce. The spouses do not have to live separately for a specific amount of time. If your spouse is causing you mental or physical pain in any way, a fault divorce may be your only alternative out of the marriage.

About the Author

Joanne P. Monagan, Esq.

Managing Attorney


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