There are seven grounds for divorce. This guide explains them all.
The Seven Grounds for Divorce
New York has seven ways which authorize a court to dissolve a marriage as part of a divorce. If for whatever reason one or more of these grounds cannot be met, the court cannot grant the divorce.
1. Cruel and Inhuman Treatment
DRL 170(1): Cruel and inhuman treatment such that the conduct of the defendant so endangers the physical or mental well being of the plaintiff as renders it unsafe or improper to cohabit with the defendant.
DRL 170(2): Abandonment by the defendant for one year or more.
Abandonment also includes constructive abandonment.
DRL 170(3) Confinement of the defendant in prison for a period of three or more consecutive years after the marriage of the plaintiff and the defendant.
DRL 170(4) The commission of an act of adultery, …, is hereby defined as the commission of an act of sexual or deviate sexual intercourse, voluntarily performed by the defendant, with a person other than the plaintiff after the marriage of plaintiff and defendant. Deviate sexual intercourse includes, but not limited to, sexual conduct as defined in subdivision two of Section 130.00 and subdivision three of Section 130.20 of the penal law.
5. Living apart pursuant to a decree or judgment of separation for one year
DRL 170(5) Living apart pursuant to a decree or judgment of separation for a period of one or more years after the granting of such decree or judgment, and satisfactory proof has been submitted by the plaintiff that he or she has substantially performed all the terms and conditions of such decree.
6. Living apart to separation agreement for one year
DRL 170(6) Living separate and apart pursuant to a written agreement of separation, subscribed by the parties thereto and acknowledged or proved in the form required to entitle a deed to be recorded, for a period of one or more years after the execution of such agreement and satisfactory proof has been submitted by the plaintiff that he or she has substantially performed all the terms and conditions of such agreement.
7. No fault: irretrievable breakdown for at least six months
DRL 170(7) The relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months, provided that one party has so stated under oath.
In order to maintain a divorce action on any ground, the residency requirements must be me.
1. DRL 230(1): The parties were married in New York, and either party lived in New York for one year prior to commencing the action.
2. DRL 230(2): The parties resided in New York as spouses, and either party lived in New York for one year or more prior to filing.
3. DRL 230(3): The cause of action occurred in New York, and either party lived in New York for one year or more prior to filing.
4. DRL 230(4): The cause of action occurred in New York, and both parties live in New York at the time of filing.
5. DRL 230(5): Either party has lived in New York for two years or more prior to filing.
Note that New York's "no fault" divorce is not considered a cause of action and cannot be used to establish the one year residency requirement.
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