Grounds for Divorce in New York
New York City Divorce Lawyer
Prior to 2010, when New York joined the rest of the states with its own
no-fault divorce, the only way to get divorced was through fault-based proceedings or after a
legal separation of at least 12 months. At-fault
divorce essentially means that one spouse, the plaintiff, files a divorce suit
against the other party, the defendant, alleging one of four specific
grounds that would justify the legal dissolution of a marriage under New York law.
All actions for divorce, both fault-based and not, are described in New
York Domestic Relations Law §170. According to this section, the
following are valid grounds for an at-fault divorce:
Cruel and Inhuman Treatment
According to § 170.1, a spouse may file for divorce on the grounds
of cruel and inhuman treatment. This may include physical abuse, emotional
abuse and other conduct that "endangers the physical or mental well-being
of the plaintiff as renders it unsafe or improper for the plaintiff to
cohabit with the defendant." The plaintiff in this situation is the
spouse who is filing for divorce and has claimed such treatment by the
other spouse, the defendant. This is one of the possible approaches to
an at-fault divorce in New York.
Abandonment is another ground for an at-fault divorce in New York. According
to § 170.2, a spouse may file for divorce if the other spouse has
abandoned him or her for a period of one or more years.
Yet another approach to an at-fault divorce, imprisonment offers probable
grounds for divorce if a spouse has been imprisoned "for a period
of three or more consecutive years after the marriage" of the two
spouses, according to NY Domestic Relations Law § 170.3.
The most common grounds for at-fault divorce in New York and across the
U.S., adultery involves the claim that a spouse has engaged in sexual
conduct with a person other than his or her husband or wife. Any type
of sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct, voluntarily
performed or engaged in, after the marriage, may constitute an act of
adultery. This is described under § 170.4.
Under § 170.5 and § 170.6, spouses may file for divorce on the
grounds of a separation judgment or written separation agreement, if they
have been living "separate and apart" for at least one year
pursuant to such judgment or agreement. Divorce based on these grounds
may be granted if spouses can prove to the court that they have performed
all the terms and conditions of their separation judgment or agreement.
A relatively new grounds for divorce in New York, made into law in 2010,
spouses may file on the basis that their relationship "has broken
down irretrievably for a period of at least six months." This is
the only grounds for a no-fault divorce in the state and marked a significant
change, as New York was the last state to allow for no-fault divorce in the U.S.
When to Speak With a Lawyer About Your Grounds for Divorce
The decision to file for divorce is life-changing. All aspects of your
personal life and your finances may be affected, and this makes it essential
to consider all options and repercussions before you proceed. This is
even more important when it comes to an at-fault divorce, as allegations
of adultery, cruel and inhuman treatment or abandonment will be on the
table. As a plaintiff or defendant in these proceedings, you will need
to take a strong stance to secure the outcome you desire.
An at-fault divorce will address the grounds for divorce, and various issues
related to children and assets must be addressed as well. This may include
the division of property,
child support and
child custody. Both in approaching divorce proceedings and in handling these issues
in court, your choice in a New York divorce attorney may directly impact
your future. At Eiges & Orgel, PLLC we have the experience, the drive
and the commitment you should look for in your legal representation.
Our attorneys have more than 40 years of legal experience. We recognize
that every family law matter is different, with its own issues that must
be addressed in however a delicate or aggressive manner. In fault-based
divorce proceedings, no-fault divorce,
contested divorce and
uncontested divorce, we can provide the insight that helps our clients make the right choices
based on their unique goals, needs and concerns. To learn more about our
firm and how we can help you,
contact a New York City divorce lawyer. We look forward to hearing from you.