We develop a phenomenological model of electro-mechanical ferroelectric fatigue based on a ferroelectric cohesive law that couples mechanical displacement and electric-potential discontinuity to mechanical tractions and surface-charge density. The ferroelectric cohesive law exhibits a monotonic envelope and loading–unloading hysteresis. The model is applicable whenever the changes in properties leading to fatigue are localized in one or more planar-like regions, modeled by the cohesive surfaces. We validate the model against experimental data for a simple test configuration consisting of an infinite slab acted upon by an oscillatory voltage differential across the slab and otherwise stress free. The model captures salient features of the experimental record including: the existence of a threshold nominal field for the onset of fatigue; the dependence of the threshold on the applied-field frequency; the dependence of fatigue life on the amplitude of the nominal field; and the dependence of the coercive field on the size of the component, or size effect. Our results, although not conclusive, indicate that planar-like regions affected by cycling may lead to the observed fatigue in tetragonal PZT.