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.
Imprisonment: 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.