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Grounds for Divorce in New York


As a psychologically trained divorce attorney and mediator for over 35 years, I have successfully guided thousands of spouses through the divorce process.

During my free consultations, I receive all kinds of questions. Often, I am asked about the grounds for divorce in New York.

There are seven grounds for divorce in New York.

Irretrivable breakdown was added in 2010 as a “no fault” ground–making it possible for many more people to divorce.

Before that spouses had to make their grounds conform to a standard that did not always fit their situation. The grounds were very specific, such as abandonment or cruel and inhuman treatment.

Today for all the couples who do not have alternate grounds such as cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment, or adultery—they can site irretrievable breakdown.

Spouses can go their separate ways without wrongfully accusing the other of something they didn’t do.

In New York, divorces are handled in the Supreme Court in the county where you live.

The 7 Grounds for Divorce in New York

1. Irretrievable breakdown: The relationship between the spouses has been irretrievably broken for at least six months.

2. Cruel and inhuman treatment: This refers to treatment that places your physical or mental health in danger if you continue to live with one another.

3. Abandonment: This means that your spouse has either left you for at least a year or has refused to have sex with you for a year.

4. Imprisonment: If your spouse is sent to jail for three or more years.

5. Adultery: Your spouse commits adultery. This is a tricky one. You cannot divorce for this reason if you encouraged your spouse to commit adultery, if you forgive your spouse for cheating by having sexual relations with them after you discovered the adultery, or if you committed adultery yourself. You also cannot use this as a ground for divorce if it has been more than five years since you discovered the adultery.

6. Judgment of Separation: If you have an official “Judgment of Separation” or “Decree of Separation” for at least one year this can be considered grounds, however, it is rarely used. Most people avoid this step and go directly to divorce. This ground is rarely used these days.

7. Separation Agreement: When you and your spouse have not lived together for at least one year according to a written “Agreement of Separation,” however, you must have adhered to the terms of the separation.

These days irretrievable breakdown (or no-fault divorce) is probably the most common ground for divorce chosen by spouses.

Divorce is a sad and complex process. If you are thinking about divorce—maybe you have been served with a summons—call me.

My partner and I will walk you through the process, assess your situation, and answer all your questions. We have over 35 years experience and will provide you with the highest level of legal strategy and compassionate support.

Call today so we can discuss the right path for you. Our consultations, which are free, are informative and comprehensive.

All our FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATIONS are discreetly and conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk!

We still have some appointments available for this week.

We look forward to helping you.

Stay healthy and safe!

Warm regards,


When it comes to your future and that of your family, don’t leave anything to chance!

Call New York Divorce Lawyer Lois M. Brenner, Esq. to schedule your free consultation. 212.734.1551.

There is no case too difficult or complex for Lois Brenner and her highly skilled legal team to handle!!