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What To Know About Grounds For Divorce In New York


Welcome to Jonna Spilbor Law. I’m Jonna Spilbor, the founder of Jonna Spilbor Law. We represent clients in all types of family law and divorce cases. Today, this article will explain the grounds for divorce in New York.

Understanding the legal grounds for divorce is essential whether you’re contemplating divorce or seeking information to protect your rights. From financial stability to emotional well-being and beyond, the grounds you select for your divorce can profoundly affect individuals and families, with consequences that may be substantial and lasting.

Divorce is a significant life event that marks the end of a marital relationship and often brings with it a range of complex legal considerations. Understanding the grounds for divorce is essential for individuals navigating the divorce process in New York.

In this comprehensive report, we’ll explore the various grounds for divorce recognized by New York state law and provide valuable insights to help individuals make informed decisions about their marital dissolution. With the guidance of Jonna Spilbor Law, you can navigate the complexities of divorce proceedings with confidence and clarity.

In New York, divorcing couples can pursue a no-fault or a fault-based divorce. Let’s delve deeper into each of these categories:

No-Fault Divorce

No-fault divorce in New York allows couples to dissolve their marriage without attributing fault to either spouse. This means that neither party is required to prove wrongdoing or marital misconduct. Instead, a couple can seek a no-fault divorce if they can demonstrate that the marriage has irretrievably broken down for at least six months and both parties consent to ending the marital relationship.

No-fault divorce offers couples a relatively straightforward and amicable way to end their marriage. It allows them to focus on resolving practical matters such as child custody, spousal support, and property division without needing lengthy and contentious legal battles.

Fault-Based Grounds

While no-fault divorce is the most common approach to ending a marriage in New York, the state also recognizes several fault-based grounds for divorce. These grounds require one spouse to prove that the other engaged in misconduct or wrongdoing that contributed to the marriage breakdown. Let’s explore these fault-based grounds in more detail:

  • Irretrievable Breakdown In Relationship For A Period Of At Least 6 Months – An irreparable breakdown in the relationship for a duration of at least six months typically constitutes grounds for a no-fault divorce. This term is commonly used to describe situations where the marriage has effectively ended for a minimum of six months. Additionally, all financial matters, encompassing debt settlement, division of marital assets, as well as custody and child support arrangements, must have been addressed.
  • Adultery – Adultery occurs when one spouse engages in extramarital affairs or sexual relationships outside the marriage without the consent of the other spouse. To file for divorce on the grounds of adultery, the accusing spouse must provide evidence of the infidelity, such as witness testimony, photographs, or communication records.
  • Cruel and Inhuman Treatment – Cruel and inhuman treatment encompasses physical or emotional abuse that creates an unsafe or intolerable living environment for the other spouse. This may include acts of violence, threats, intimidation, or extreme verbal abuse. To pursue a divorce on the grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment, the abused spouse must provide evidence of the abusive behavior, such as medical records, witness statements, or police reports.
  • Abandonment – Abandonment occurs when one spouse deserts the other spouse for an extended period without justification or consent. To establish abandonment as grounds for divorce, the deserted spouse must demonstrate that the abandonment lasted for at least one year and that there was no intention of reconciliation.
  • Imprisonment – Imprisonment serves as grounds for divorce when one spouse is incarcerated for three consecutive years or longer after the marriage. The imprisoned spouse’s incarceration must be continuous and uninterrupted for the duration specified by law.
  • Conversion of a Separation Judgment – This ground for divorce applies when a separation judgment or decree has been in effect for at least one year and one spouse has substantially complied with its terms. If the parties have lived apart pursuant to a separation agreement or court-ordered judgment for the required period, the non-compliant spouse may seek a divorce based on the other spouse’s failure to abide by the terms of the separation agreement.

These fault-based grounds for divorce require the accusing spouse to provide sufficient evidence to substantiate their claims of marital misconduct. While fault-based divorces can be more complex and contentious than no-fault divorces, they may be necessary in cases where one spouse’s actions significantly contribute to the marriage breakdown.

The Top Five Reasons Why You Need a Divorce Attorney

Going through a divorce can be one of the most challenging and emotionally draining experiences in life. From navigating complex legal procedures to addressing sensitive issues such as child custody and property division, the divorce process can quickly become overwhelming.

While some couples may consider handling their divorce without legal representation, enlisting the assistance of a skilled divorce attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. The following are the top five reasons why hiring a divorce attorney is essential for anyone going through a New York divorce.

  1. Legal Experience and Guidance – Divorce laws vary from state to state and can be intricate and confusing. A divorce attorney brings valuable legal experience and knowledge of the applicable laws and regulations to your case. They can provide personalized guidance and advice tailored to your unique situation, helping you understand your rights, obligations, and options throughout the divorce process.
  2. Objective Advice and Advocacy – Divorce proceedings often involve intense emotions and heightened tensions between spouses. In such emotionally charged situations, making sound decisions that are in your best interests can be challenging. A divorce attorney is an objective third party who can offer impartial advice and advocate for your rights and priorities. They can help you focus on your long-term goals and make informed decisions protecting your legal and financial interests.
  3. Efficient Resolution of Disputes – Divorce proceedings can quickly escalate into contentious legal battles, especially when spouses disagree on critical issues such as child custody, alimony, and property division. A skilled divorce attorney has experience negotiating and resolving disputes amicably, often through mediation or settlement negotiations. Working with an attorney can minimize conflict, reduce the time and expense associated with litigation, and achieve a more efficient resolution to your divorce.
  4. Protection of Your Legal Rights – With proper legal representation, you can avoid overlooking critical legal rights and entitlements during divorce. A divorce attorney acts as your advocate, ensuring your rights are protected at every stage of the proceedings. Whether safeguarding your parental rights, advocating for a fair division of marital assets, or negotiating favorable spousal support terms, an attorney works tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome.
  5. Streamlined Documentation and Paperwork – Divorce involves extensive paperwork, including legal documents, financial disclosures, and court filings. Navigating this paperwork can be time-consuming and overwhelming, particularly if you need to familiarize yourself with the process. A divorce attorney handles all aspects of documentation and paperwork on your behalf, ensuring that everything is completed accurately, thoroughly, and in compliance with relevant laws and regulations. This streamlines the process, reduces the risk of errors or omissions, and ensures your case progresses smoothly through the legal system.

Navigating a divorce can be a complex and emotionally taxing journey, but you don’t have to go through it alone. By retaining our knowledgeable and experienced divorce attorneys, you can gain invaluable support, guidance, and advocacy throughout the process.

From providing legal experience and objective advice to resolving disputes efficiently and protecting your rights, a divorce attorney is crucial in helping you navigate the complexities of divorce and secure a favorable outcome for your future. If you’re considering divorce, don’t hesitate to contact our trusted divorce attorneys, who can provide you with the assistance and support you need during this challenging time.

New York offers couples various options for obtaining a divorce, including both no-fault and fault-based grounds. Whether pursuing a no-fault divorce or alleging fault-based grounds, couples need to seek legal guidance from experienced divorce attorneys to navigate the complexities of the divorce process and protect their legal rights and interests.

Small Firm Attention, Big Firm Resources

At Jonna Spilbor Law, we use a collaborative team approach to every case, ensuring comprehensive representation and diligent advocacy. Take the first step towards resolving your criminal charges – call us today to schedule a consultation! Contact our divorce lawyers in Dutchess County at our Poughkeepsie office at (845) 485-2529 or our New York City office at (646) 922-9789.

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