Probably the most common method under the law of obtaining a divorce is through no-fault grounds, stated in New York’s Domestic Relations Law Section 170(7) as being initiated by either a husband or wife when [t]he relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months, provided that one party has so stated under oath.”
However, another ground for divorce that can also be used allows for parties to divorce when “[t]he husband and wife have lived separate and apart pursuant to a written agreement of separation, subscribed by the parties thereto and acknowledged or proved in the form required to entitle a deed to be recorded, for a period of one or more years after the execution of such agreement . . . .” DRL § 170(6). Furthermore, the “agreement shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the county wherein either party resides.” Id.
Where a separation agreement is deemed valid the issues in the divorce that are addressed by that agreement will be deemed resolved and the parties will not need to spend time and money litigating those issues. If all issues of the divorce are addressed in the agreement, then the parties can proceed with submitting an application for a judgment of divorce and the terms of the agreement will apply.