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FAQ Divorce

Divorce FAQ

Therefore, it is likely that most, if not all, future divorce actions will be brought under this ground (No. 7 below), although all of the other remaining grounds are still available.


The grounds for divorce in New York pursuant to DRL Section 170 are: (1) cruel and inhuman treatment; (2) the abandonment of the Plaintiff by the Defendant for a period of one or more years; (3) the confinement of the Defendant in prison for a period of three or more consecutive years after the marriage; (4) the commission of adultery voluntarily performed by the Defendant with a person other than the Plaintiff after the marriage; (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; (6) living separate and apart  pursuant to a written agreement of separation signed by the parties for a period of one or more years after the signing of the agreement; (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.


No. 7 above is the ground for divorce that is closest to a no-fault ground in New York. What this means, essentially, is a divorce will be granted on that ground after the parties or the court have resolved the property, custody, child support, and spousal support issues and the attorney and expert-witness fees. This ground typically is not contested. When it is, the burden of proof is easier to meet than for the other grounds for divorce in New York. The irretrievable-breakdown ground can be met by a sworn statement, while the other grounds require that the Plaintiff provide evidence to prove the specific allegation before a final determination will be made on the other issues of the divorce.

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