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What Are Grounds for Divorce in NY?

New York State Grounds for Divorce

Divorce is often a messy, complex, and emotional process. But, for many couples in New York, it becomes a necessary process. In New York, there are laws that restrict the grounds for a divorce. Until recently, couples in New York couldn't seek a true "no-fault" divorce. This meant that to get a divorce in New York, you had to prove you and your spouse had separated, or prove your spouse engaged in some type of misconduct that ended the marriage.

But, that changed in August 2010 when New York Governor David Paterson signed the No-Fault Divorce bill into law. Now couples can request a divorce by claiming that they've had an "irretrievable breakdown in their marriage." This just means that the couple has determined that there is no chance of salvaging or saving the marriage.

No-Fault Divorce in New York

A couple in New York may get a no-fault divorce if one of them states under oath that the marriage has broken down for at least six months and can't be fixed. For the court to grant a no-fault divorce, the couple must show that all issues relating to their divorce, such as property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support have been resolved. This can be done through a divorce settlement agreement or a court order.

Divorce with Fault in New York

Here are the other six grounds for divorce in New York where fault is involved:

  • Cruel and inhuman treatment: When one spouse feels in danger of physical or mental abuse. This option isn't available for spouses who haven't suffered abusive treatment within the last five years.
  • Abandonment: If a spouse leaves the other for at least a year and does not intend to return.
  • Adultery: You can file for divorce in New York if your spouse cheats on you. This option isn't available if you encouraged your spouse to commit adultery, if you forgave your spouse and had sexual relations after having knowledge of the adultery, or if you committed adultery yourself. You'll also need a witness to testify other than yourself, and the adultery must have taken place within the last five years.
  • Imprisonment: You can divorce your spouse in New York if they go to jail for three or more years. But, you can't use imprisonment as grounds for divorce if your spouse was released over five years ago.
  • Judgment of separation: If you and your spouse haven't lived together because of a Decree of Separation or Judgment of Separation from the court for a year or more. This ground for divorce is only applicable if all the conditions of the decree are followed.
  • Separation agreement: If you secure an Agreement of Separation, you can file for divorce after a year of not living together. You must get the agreement signed before a notary and you must follow the conditions of the agreement.

Why You Need a Qualified Lawyer

Even if you have legal grounds for divorce, you may run into complications if your spouse doesn't want to get divorced. This issue usually only comes up when one spouse doesn't want to separate for financial reasons.

If you're worried that your spouse may argue against your grounds for divorce, make sure you have an experienced Long Island family law attorney on your side.

Call the Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC at (516) 227-5353 for a free and comprehensive consultation.

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