You are likely familiar with the term “divorce,” and may also have heard the term “dissolution of marriage.” Divorce is the term more commonly used, but what is the difference between the two? Do they mean the same thing?

Technically, yes. Both terms result in the same outcome – ending a marriage permanently. Both terms are used interchangeably in some states, with “dissolution of marriage” being the legal term for divorce. In other states, the processes for both can be very different.

Difference Between Divorce and Dissolution

In 2010, New York became the last state to allow no-fault divorce. Before then, there had to be a valid reason for the divorce. Namely, one party had to be at fault. Before filing for a divorce, one person had to prove the following:

  • Separation or abandonment for one year or longer
  • Adultery
  • Cruel and inhumane treatment
  • Imprisonment for three or more years

In the past, couples tried to get out of their marriages by claiming separation. Now, a couple in New York can end their marriage at any time for any reason. There is no waiting period, but you do have to meet the residency requirement, which means you must have lived in the state for at least one year.

However, dissolution and divorce are still treated differently. A person choosing to divorce has to prove fault via one of the reasons listed above. A person ending a marriage via dissolution does not have to prove fault, which is why it is often called a no-fault divorce.

In a divorce, because someone alleges fault, there is often some back-and-forth argument, since one person is being accused of something and may choose to defend themselves. This makes the process lengthy and expensive since a trial is often required.

In a dissolution of marriage, nobody has to be at fault. The parties can cite “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for ending the marriage, which could include a wide range of things. It could mean that the parties are not getting along due to some character trait, personality, belief, or behavior.

No court trials are needed. The parties can resolve the issues outside of court, with or without a lawyer. They can come to an agreement and attend a court hearing to get their agreement approved by a judge. All issues must be agreed upon, including child custody, child support, parental rights, alimony, and property division.

Contact a Divorce Lawyer Today

In New York, you can choose to dissolve your marriage or divorce. Both lead to the same outcome, but one is cheaper and easier. The other requires you to prove fault, which often leads to a lot of arguing between the spouses.

Proving fault in a divorce rarely does anything to produce a more favorable outcome. Choose the less stressful route. If you are ending your marriage, Brooklyn divorce lawyer Theodore Alatsas ESQ can help you settle outside of court but is prepared to go to court to fight for your rights. Contact him at (718) 233-2903 to schedule a consultation.

Ted Alatsas
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Brooklyn, New York Trial Attorney Practicing Family Law, Elder Law, Asset Protection and Bankruptcy Claims
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