Matrimonial litigation brings about many emotional, property, custodial, financial and legal changes that are temporarily disruptive, but can be permanently disastrous if not properly managed. The attorneys at O’Connell and Aronowitz are well aware of the physical, emotional and financial burdens imposed by contested legal proceedings.  We know that the costs of litigation can seem daunting. Serious concerns over the uncertainty of one’s future can make the legal process emotionally difficult. We promise to give our clients our best efforts and to keep them fully informed as to all aspects of their legal proceedings. Our divorce lawyers endeavor to achieve for our clients the greatest benefits possible. We cannot and do not, however, make any guarantees or predictions to any client as to the results to be obtained. We encourage our clients to seek the support of friends and family during the difficult times that will arise during the legal proceedings. Our clients can also rely on us to assist them in overcoming the inevitable obstacles and frustrations with which they will be faced. Divorce actions in New York State are heard and decided by the New York State Supreme Court. The legal grounds (or reasons) for a divorce are set forth in the New York State Domestic Relations Law. It is important to have an experienced matrimonial lawyer on your side to protect yourself, your future and your family. You Shouldn’t do it alone. We will help you through the process. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys have handled hundreds of cases involving complex custody, visitation and support issues throughout New York State.  January 2018 marked an expansion to our renowned Divorce, Family, Matrimonial practice with Florence Richardson joining the firm as Of Counsel.  Bringing decades of experience focusing exclusively in family law matters, Flo joins attorneys Will Berglund and Kelly Mikullitz to create one of the most dynamic family law practices in the state. 

Legal Grounds for Divorce in New York State

A divorce may be granted on either no-fault  or fault grounds. 

No-Fault Grounds for Dissolution of Marriage

The no fault grounds do not require the complaining party to prove any misconduct by his or her spouse.

The no-fault grounds are:

  • The husband and wife have lived apart pursuant to a judgment of separation for one or more years after the judgment was granted, and the person seeking the divorce satisfactorily proves his or her substantial performance of all of the terms and conditions of the judgment.
  • The husband and wife have lived apart pursuant to a written Agreement of Separation for one or more years, provided the Agreement is signed with certain legal formalities and filed in the Office of the Clerk of the County where either the husband or wife resides; and
  • The relationship between the husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months, provided that either the husband or the wife so states under oath. This final no-fault ground for divorce, which has been available in New York State since 2010, requires only that the husband or wife state under oath that the marriage has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months. No defenses are available to the other spouse to prevent a divorce on that ground.

Within the context of an action for divorce, the Supreme Court will also determine all other marital issues, including custody; visitation; child support; spousal support or maintenance; Equitable Distribution of marital assets; and the responsibility of the parties for providing and paying for health insurance, uncovered medical expenses, life insurance, daycare expenses, children’s educational expenses and attorney fees. 

Fault Grounds for Divorce

Although a vast majority of divorces in New York State are now granted on a no-fault ground, fault grounds are still available by law. To obtain a divorce on one of the fault grounds, a spouse must prove certain facts to the Court.

The fault grounds are:

  • Cruel and inhuman treatment, consisting of conduct that so endangers the physical or mental well-being of the complaining party as renders it unsafe or improper for that party to continue to cohabit with his or her spouse
  • Abandonment of the complaining party by his or her spouse for a period of one or more years
  • Confinement of one spouse in prison for a period of three or more consecutive years after the marriage; and
  • Commission of an act of adultery

For a free evaluation, please call (518) 462-5601

Contested Divorces in New York

Since the effective date of New York State’s “No-Fault Divorce” law in 2010, the issues that are most often contested in divorce actions are property division, custody and spousal and child support. Ending your marriage can be stressful for the whole family. We encourage our clients to work with us to resolve issues in a cost-effective and reasonable manner. This will minimize expense and distress and maximize the benefits for you and your children. 

Do you need information about legal separations?

Locations We Serve

Our Divorce and Family lawyers work throughout the capital region and upstate New York to help individuals and families navigate complex legal cases. With offices in Albany and Saratoga Springs, our location allows our attorneys easy access to all areas of the state.

Our Divorce and Family practice serves several counties throughout upstate New York including Albany, Columbia, Clinton, Delaware, Essex, Fulton, Greene, Madison, Montgomery, Otsego, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Rensselaer, Ulster, Warren and Washington counties.  Our Divorce and Family attorneys can help you navigate these often stressful and emotional issues.

To learn more about our legal services in your area, visit our location page.


I was going through a divorce Kelly, Jess and everyone at this firm was more then helpful. All were compassionate, caring and always there to answer questions. I will never be able to thank this firm enough. I highly recommended them

Karen Google Review

Florence Richardson is compassionate, supremely intelligent and a beautifully composed lawyer. She took care of my case in a professional and extremely favorable manner. I’m forever grateful for her expertise and kindness.

NormaJoy L. Google Review

My family was fortunate to be referred to O’Connell & Aronowitz for legal matters. They were helpful, friendly, and professional. They are a cut above the rest and a pleasure to deal with in every sense.

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