In New York, couples filing for divorce must do so based on one of the acceptable reasons for divorce in the state. There are seven legally acceptable reasons for divorce in the state of New York that couples considering divorce should be familiar with.
There are seven legally acceptable grounds for divorce in New York including:
- The relationship has suffered an irretrievable breakdown for 6 months or longer – this is typically referred to as a no-fault divorce. To use this ground for divorce, the marriage must be greater than 6 months and all divorce-related issues including economic issues, debt, property division, child custody child support have been settled.
- Cruel and inhuman treatment – to use this ground for divorce, the court will look for specific acts of cruelty that occurred in the past 5 years. The cruelty must rise to the level that the spouse claiming inhuman treatment was physically or mentally in danger or it is unsafe or improper for the spouse claiming inhuman treatment to remain with the other spouse.
- Abandonment – to use this ground for divorce, one spouse must have abandoned the other spouse for at least a year or more. If one spouse refuses to have sex with the other spouse or leaves the home without any intention of returning, it may be considered abandonment for the purposes of claiming abandonment as a grounds for divorce.
- Imprisonment – to use this ground for divorce, one of the spouses must have been in prison for 3 or more consecutive years. The spouse must not have been in prison prior to the marriage.
- Adultery – to use this ground for divorce, the spouse claiming it must demonstrate that the other spouse committed adultery. Evidence from a third party is required.
- Divorce following legal separation agreement – to use this ground for divorce, the divorcing couple agrees to sign and file a valid separation agreement to live apart for a year.
- Divorce following judgment of separation – this is uncommonly used but this ground for divorce includes the Supreme Court drawing up a judgment of separation and the married couple lives apart for a year.
Making the decision to divorce should not be taken lightly and can be a difficult one to reach. Couples considering divorce should be familiar with the different grounds for divorce when they have decided they can no longer be together and remain married.