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Grounds for Divorce in the State of New York

Marriage can be difficult under the best of circumstances. Sometimes, the difficulties become too much to try and overcome and the partners choose to file for divorce. If you find yourself in a marriage that is broken and you are ready to take the steps necessary to file for divorce, understanding the different grounds or "reasons" accepted by the State of New York will be beneficial.

Victims of either mental or physical domestic abuse may file for divorce under the grounds of Cruel and Inhuman Treatment. Any conduct that could endanger either your mental or physical wellbeing, making it unsafe or improper to continue to live together, would be considered under these grounds. Keep in mind that DRL 210 "No action for divorce or separation may be maintained on a ground which arose more than five years before the date of the commencement of that action" would apply to this or another other grounds for divorce.

Abandonment as grounds for divorce in New York would be considered under the circumstances:

  • The abandonment has occurred for one or more years.
  • No intention of resuming the relationship
  • Occurred without consent of spouse
  • Occurred without justification

Abandonment may also be used without actual abandonment when: actions make it impossible to live together, locking your spouse out of the house, or lack of sexual relations. A spouse who has been in prison for three or more years also qualifies.

Adultery as grounds for divorce under New York Law is the act of any physical sexual conduct committed voluntarily with anyone other than your spouse. Again DRL 210 would be in effect under these grounds.

If you have a legal separation on file, have maintained this separation for a period of one year or more, and completed all the terms and conditions of the separation decree you can get a divorce by conversion.

Although the State of New York requires grounds to be stated in any petition for divorce, new grounds for divorce were accepted into law in 2010. Under this law a divorce can be granted under the grounds of an "irretrievable breakdown" in the relationship for a period of six months or more. In other words this would be considered a "no fault" divorce. Any divorce filed after October 12, 2010 could use this as grounds. To qualify for a divorce under this law, you have to swear under oath that the said breakdown exists and all other issues in terms of finances, custody, and visitation are resolved and documented in the judgment for divorce.

Filing for divorce can be a stressful and emotional experience. If you are considering divorce you should contact an experienced divorce attorney in the State of New York to explain your rights and obligations.

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