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Do You Know What The Grounds Are for Divorce in New York?


As a divorce attorney/mediator for over 35 years, I am often asked during a consultation about the grounds for divorce in New York.

There are seven grounds for divorce.

Irretrievable breakdown was added in 2010 as a legal reason – making it possible for many more people to divorce. Before that, people 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 grounds such as cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment or adultery, they can cite irretrievable breakdown.

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

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

So here are 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 in jail for three or more years.

5. Adultery: Your spouse commits adultery. This is a tricky one though. 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. Most people avoid this step and go directly to divorce.

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 agreement.

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

Divorce is a complex process. If you are thinking about divorce and want to discuss grounds, call me.

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

Our consultations, which are free, are informative and comprehensive.

All our FREE 1 HOUR CONSULTATIONS are conveniently conducted virtually to reduce risk.

I look forward to speaking with you and helping you with your divorce.

Stay healthy & safe!

Warm regards,


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