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Divorce Lawyer NYC - Paul E Rudder, Esq

What Is Considered Grounds For Divorce In New York State

When a client comes into my office stating they want a divorce, my first question is "Under what grounds are you seeking a divorce?" And more often than not, they were not even aware that they needed a particular reason to be divorced. In New York state, there are seven grounds for divorce: Irretrievable Breakdown, Cruel and Inhuman treatment, Abandonment, Imprisonment, Adultery, Judgment of Separation, and Separation Agreement.

Irretrievable Breakdown: The relationship between you and your spouse has deteriorated irretrievably for at least six months. The court will only give you a divorce on this ground when custody, spousal support, visitation, property and child support have been settled and/or decided.

Cruel and inhuman treatment: Cruel and inhuman treatment by your spouse; this means that your physical and/or mental health is at risk if you and your spouse continue together. However, if this abusive treatment did not take place within the past five (5) years, you cannot use this as a ground for divorce

Abandonment: This is when your spouse "leaves" you for at least a year. This means that your spouse has abandoned you, or kicked you out, and does not intend to return.

This is when your spouse is sentenced to jail for three or more years. However, if your spouse was released more than five (5) years ago, you cannot file for divorce under this ground.

Adultery: If your spouse commits adultery, you may use this as a reason for divorce. But, this is not a reason for divorce if you do any of the following: incite your spouse to commit infidelity, absolve your spouse of any wrongdoing by having intimate relations with them post discovery of the affair, or if you sleep with someone else. In addition, adultery cannot be a ground for divorce if it has been more than five (5) years since you discovered that your spouse has committed infidelity. You cannot testify yourself to prove adultery either, so you must be able to produce a reliable witness who can testify.

Judgment of Separation: You and your partner have not lived together in the same household due to a Decree of Separation or Judgment of Separation, given by a Court, for at least one (1) year. You must follow all of the stipulations of the decree or judgment. It is uncommon to have a Judgment of Separation because of the fact that it needs similar proof needed in a divorce. Most clients don't go through the Judgment of Separation and go directly to divorce.

Separation Agreement: In this situation, you and your partner have not resided together because of an approved Agreement of Separation for at least one (1) year. Both you and your spouse have to sign this agreement before a certified notary and you also have to follow all of the conditions of said agreement.

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Paul Rudder ESQ was one of the main presen-
ters and a panelist at St John's University Law School all day course titled "THE COURT IS IN SESSION: PSYCHOLOGISTS ON THE STAND - A CASE OF A CHILD CUSTODY EVALUA TION" on September 30 2012.

The program presented the issues and concerns in the stages through time in child custody, general issues related to all aspects of the child custody dispute and adjudication, common errors made by professionals, legal challenges likely to be faced, ethical and licensing issues likely to emerge, etc.

What our customers are saying..


  • "Paul Rudder is amazing person and a great lawyer. He has a heart but also great legal skills. He took me through a brutal experience with very good results. I highly recommend him to anyone who needs a divorce attorney"

    Debra W.

  • "I came to see Mr. Rudder at the suggestion of my accountant. I got served with divorce papers and did not know who to turn to. From the moment I stepped into his office, I felt like someone had my back and I was going to be OK. He is not just a lawyer, he is a counselor at law which what a divorce lawyer should be, this is a very personal, emotional experience."

    Anita M

  • "I needed a divorce and there was a lot at stake, significant assets and 2 kids. The divorce was not going to be friendly. There was a lot of hostility between and my now ex-wife. Paul Rudder did everything to avoid heavy litigation, tried to settle and negotiate as much as he could. Eventually we did go to court and this man knows how to try a case. I was very satisfied with the outcome."

    Bill A.

  • "I was about to get married and needed a pre-nuptial agreement. I was recommended Paul Rudder by a friend who used him for his. This is a very difficult and sensitive matter and he really helped me understand and identify my rights, goals as well a fairness to my soon to be wife."

    Alex F.


Contact Paul Eric Rudder


Paul E. Rudder, ESQ - Divorce Lawyer NYC
950 Third Avenue, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10022

T: 212 826-9900
E: paul@paulrudderlaw.com

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Mr. Rudder represents clients in NYC & throughout the Greater Metropolitan area.

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Awards and Distinctions

"Top Lawyer" in Family and Divorce Law in New York Times Super Lawyers Section for (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)

"Awarded an AV rating (it's highest) by the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings Service Law directory