How Long Must a Couple Be Separated Before Divorce?
It depends on what state you live in. Since New York is a no-fault divorce state, you are not required to be legally separated first. You can file for divorce on this no-fault ground and continue to live together while you try to reach an agreement.
Additionally, you do not need to legally separate in order to file using most fault grounds. However, there are two situations you are required to live separately for a period of time prior to the divorce being granted. One is when the divorce is based on abandonment, while the other is when it is a so-called “conversion” divorce.
Abandonment means that your spouse has left you, so you must live apart in order for this ground to apply. Furthermore, abandonment grounds can affect property division, while other grounds cannot.
On the other hand, a conversion divorce is when you and your spouse sign a separation agreement, file it with the court, then one of you moves out and you proceed to live apart. After one year, either of you can petition the court to convert your separation agreement into a divorce judgment.