Nassau County Family Law Blog

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Grounds For Divorce

Did you know that you need to have a particular ground, or reason, to bring a divorce?  The seven grounds for divorce in New York include: (1) “Irretrievable Breakdown” of the marriage, (2) “Cruel and Inhuman Treatment,” (3) “Abandonment” by your spouse, (4) “Imprisonment” of a spouse, (5) “Adultery,” (6) “Judgment of Separation” or “Decree of Separation,” or (7) a “Separation Agreement,” which may result in a “Conversion Divorce.”  Once you have a valid ground, you may litigate your action in the Supreme Court for your region. 

The typical category that most parties fall under is “Irretrievable Breakdown of the marriage” because no fault is needed to be proven.  Typically, the marriage must have “broken down irretrievably for at least six months.”  However, before being able to utilize this ground, certain issues may need to have already been determined and resolved between the spouses.

There are usually certain time requirements within each ground for divorce as well.  To qualify for a divorce on the basis of a “Judgment of Separation,” you and your partner must be living in separate residences for generally one year or more.  Moreover, both spouses must have abided by the terms and provisions within the agreement.  Abandonment will likely need to be shown for one year or more, imprisonment for three or more years, and so on.  An attorney will be able to evaluate the facts of your case in order to determine which ground your divorce should be based upon.   

That is not all.  You also likely need to meet certain residency requirements which will give a New York court jurisdiction over your case.  Generally, one spouse must have lived in the state for one or more years.  Often times, a spouse will oppose a divorce, which makes the process even more lengthy, emotional, and pricey. 

Having an attorney by your side can better ensure that you meet all the requirements to bring a divorce, and to prevent an unnecessarily drawn out process.  An attorney may even be able to facilitate an agreement between you and your spouse regarding important issues such as the division of property, support, debts, and custody, which will similarly save time and expense.   



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