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2024 What Are Grounds for Divorce in New York?

2024 What Are Grounds for Divorce in New York?

While marriages can be fruitful and conducive to facilitating positive family dynamics, they can also cease to be beneficial for all parties involved, including children in the family. As a result, many married couples may choose to pursue the divorce process. However, they may be unsure about how the process will look, whether or not they will need a New York divorce lawyer, and what steps must be taken in order to initiate the divorce.

While married couples are starting the divorce process, they may stress over the need to meet certain requirements, such as residency requirements and proving the grounds for the divorce. This blog has been carefully curated by the divorce law team at the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, in order to clarify the requirements that must be met in order to pursue the divorce process.

What Are Grounds for Divorce in New York?

Proving New York Grounds for Divorce

While many couples may stress over proving the grounds for their divorce, this is not necessary. Since 2010, it is not required to list and prove a legal ground for divorce as a reason to initiate the marriage process. This can be done by filing a no-fault divorce, which means that no party was particularly responsible for the breakdown of the marriage.

Before 2010, married couples were required to live apart for a minimum of 12 months in order to be able to file for divorce if they could not cite one of the seven grounds for divorce. Now, the only requirement for filing a no-fault divorce is that a spouse must be able to show that there has been an “irrevocable breakdown” of the divorce that has lasted for a time period greater than the last six months.

At-Fault Divorces and the Grounds for Divorce

An at-fault New York divorce implies that one party in the marriage is guilty of the breakdown of the marriage. An at-fault divorce is a sound option for couples that do not have six months to work on their marriage and for whom a certain event or multiple events have occurred that were destructive to the marriage.

In such a case, one of the following grounds for divorce must be cited and proved to the courts:

  • Cruel and inhuman treatment. If a spouse has been a victim of domestic violence, including physical or sexual assault, and the perpetrator was the other spouse, then cruel and inhuman treatment can be cited as a reason for divorce. Any acts of cruelty that happen within five years and leave the marriage no longer physically safe for members of the family, such as children, can be cited as grounds for divorce during the at-fault divorce process.
  • Imprisonment of a spouse. This ground of divorce can be cited as a reason for justification if a spouse in the marriage is imprisoned for a period of three years or greater. The incarcerated spouse must be imprisoned after the date of marriage. This can be used as grounds for up to five years after the spouse is released.
  • Adultery. If one spouse commits adultery during the marriage, then this can be used as a justification to end the divorce. There must be evidence from an individual besides the plaintiff and the spouse in order to prove adultery.
  • Abandonment. In order to utilize this ground as justification for divorce, a spouse must have abandoned the other spouse for a time period of one year or greater. This can entail a spouse physically leaving the marital residence or not engaging in sex with the plaintiff.

In addition to the above-mentioned grounds for divorce, it is possible to have both the plaintiff and the defendant file a separation agreement and then reside in a different physical location for the duration of a year. However, after the law changed in 2010, this is typically not pursued anymore.


Q: What Is a Wife Entitled to in a New York Divorce?

A: In New York, both divorcing spouses are entitled to the same benefits, such as spousal support, child support, child custody, and community property, regardless of their gender. When determining factors such as spousal support, the courts will consider the standard of living experienced during the marriage, the earning potential of each spouse, child custody arrangements, and other considerations unrelated to sex or gender.

Q: What Is the N.Y. Residency Requirement?

A: In order to pursue a divorce, a spouse from the divorcing couple must have lived in New York for a period of at least two years. If this requirement is not met, then the couple should have been one of the following:

  • Married in the state of New York
  • Living at some point as a married couple in New York
  • Have grounds for divorce that occurred in New York

If you are unsure about whether your marriage meets the New York residency requirements for divorce, then an experienced family lawyer can help clarify any questions you may have.

Q: How Can I Use the No-Fault Divorce Ground?

A: In order to file for a no-fault divorce, you must be able to prove that your marriage has been broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months. In addition to this, you must work out all economic issues, such as debt and marital property division, as well as plan and confirm how spousal support and child custody and support will be settled.

Q: Do I Need a New York Divorce Lawyer?

A: In New York, it is not required by law to have a divorce lawyer. In certain no-fault divorces, in which the length of the marriage has been short, and there are no large shared assets, children, or pending disputes, hiring a lawyer may not be necessary. However, in many cases, a divorce lawyer can be crucial to optimizing family outcomes after the divorce, including child visitation and property division arrangements.

Optimize Your Divorce Results With a Compassionate NY Family Lawyer

Establishing the grounds for a divorce, as well as meeting the needed requirements, such as residency requirements, can be confusing and complex for divorcing couples. An NY family lawyer from the Law Offices of Robert Tsigler, PLLC, can help answer any important questions that you may have about initiating your divorce and support you in carrying out the process in order to optimize your outcomes. Speak with a member of our team today to get started.

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