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Divorce can be an emotionally taxing experience, and it’s essential to understand the legal grounds for a divorce before making any decisions. In New York, several grounds have been established by state law. In this blog, Eiges & Orgel, PLLC will dive deeper into some of the most common grounds and discuss what you should consider when determining if one applies to your situation.

Abandonment or Desertion

Abandonment or desertion involves one spouse leaving the other without consent and intention of returning. Abandonment can also refer to one spouse refusing to engage in sexual relations with the other. To qualify as abandonment, this refusal must have occurred for at least a year before filing for divorce. In addition, it must be proven that the abandoning spouse had no legitimate cause or reason for leaving the marriage.

Cruel and Inhuman Treatment

Cruel and inhuman treatment refers to physical or mental abuse suffered by one spouse at the hands of another during the marriage. This includes physical abuse, such as hitting, kicking, pushing, etc., and mental abuse, such as threats, humiliation, verbal insults, etc. Victims of cruel treatment need not suffer physical injuries to make a case against their abuser; psychological damage is sufficient evidence of cruelty in New York courts. However, if physical abuse occurs, this is still a ground for divorce.


Adultery is when one spouse has sexual relations with someone outside of their marriage without their partner’s consent or knowledge. Adultery cannot be used as grounds for divorce if both parties have consented to extramarital sexual activity, nor can adultery be used if both spouses were aware that extramarital sexual activity was occurring within their marriage before filing for divorce. Additionally, adultery requires proof that one spouse has engaged in sexual relations with someone else while they were still married; simple suspicion is not enough evidence on its own. As such, adultery is not always an easy ground on which to file for divorce in New York State.

Work With Experienced and Knowledgeable Attorneys

When deciding whether or not to file for divorce based on any of these five grounds—abandonment or desertion, cruel and inhuman treatment, adultery—it’s essential to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights and can provide guidance on how best to proceed. With an experienced lawyer on your side fighting hard on your behalf throughout every stage of the process, you will be better equipped to reach the desired outcome.

Are you unsure if you have grounds for your divorce that could come into play? Eiges & Orgel, PLLC can help answer your questions. Give us a call at (347) 848-1850 for a consultation.

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