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What Are The Seven Grounds For Divorce In New York?

Divorce is losing its negative stigma and is seen by many in New York as a reasonable way to end an unhappy marriage and step forward on a positive note. However, when filing for divorce, a person must state one of seven grounds that the divorce is based on.

Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage

The first ground for marriage is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least six months. This is also referred to a “no-fault” divorce. To claim this ground of divorce, all economic issues in the marriage, marital property division, child custody and child support must be settled.

Cruel and inhuman treatment

To claim this ground for divorce, specific acts of cruelty must have taken place in the last five years. Mere arguments do not count. The cruelty must rise to the level of placing the Plaintiff in physical or mental danger, making it unsafe or improper for the two parties to continue living together.


To claim this ground for divorce, the abandonment must have lasted one or more years. Physically leaving the marital residence with no intention of returning constitutes abandonment. Refusal to have sexual intercourse for one or more years also constitutes “constructive” abandonment.


To claim this ground for divorce, one spouse must have been imprisoned for at least three consecutive years after the marriage began. This ground is valid while the spouse is in prison and up to five years following the spouse’s release from prison.


To claim this ground for divorce, the Plaintiff is required to prove their spouse cheated while they were married. However, to prove this ground there needs to be evidence of the adultery from someone other than the two spouses.

Divorce following a legal separation agreement

To claim this ground for divorce, both spouses must have signed and filed a valid separation agreement and they must have lived apart from one another for 12 months. There are certain legal requirements that a separation agreement must meet in order to be valid.

Divorce following a judgement of separation

This is a rare ground for divorce. It can only be used if the Supreme Court issues a judgment of separation and the spouses live apart from one another for one year.

Learn more about divorce in New York

Ultimately this post is for educational purposes only and does not contain legal advice. Those who want to learn more about the grounds for divorce in New York may find our firm’s website to be a useful resource.




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