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What Are the Grounds for Fault Divorce in New York?

By The Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC on April 21, 2015

New York was one of the last U.S. states to adopt no-fault divorce as an option for spouses who wish to end their marriages. For many years, New York’s options for a fault-based divorce were also limited.

In a fault-based divorce, one spouse must prove that the other has committed a specific type of wrongdoing. In a no-fault divorce, on the other hand, the spouses must merely demonstrate that there has been an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. An experienced Long Island divorce lawyer can help you determine which type of divorce is best for your situation.

The grounds for fault divorce listed in Domestic Relations Law Section 170 include:

  • Cruel and inhuman treatment by one spouse that “endangers the physical or mental well being” of the other, making it “unsafe or improper” for the spouses to continue living together.
  • Abandonment of one spouse by the other for at least one year.
  • Imprisonment of one spouse for at least three consecutive years after the marriage date.
  • Adultery, as defined in other sections of New York law, committed voluntarily by one of the spouses after the pair was married.
  • Living apart under a decree or judgment of separation for at least one year after the decree or judgment was issued.
  • Living apart under a written separation agreement for at least one year, with proof that the spouse filing for divorce has “substantially performed” all the terms and conditions of the written agreement. The agreement must be written in the forms required by New York law, so it is wise to consult an attorney before executing such an agreement.

For reliable guidance and aggressive representation in your divorce, contact the Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC. We are more than happy to help you through this difficult time.

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