Understanding the Grounds for Divorce in New York State


Divorce is a complex and emotionally charged process that involves navigating through various legal requirements and proceedings. In New York State, there are specific grounds for divorce that must be met for a couple to legally dissolve their marriage. Whether you’re considering divorce or already in the midst of the process, it’s crucial to understand these grounds and how they may impact your case. we’ll delve into the different What are The Grounds for Divorce in New York State, providing you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions.

No-Fault Grounds for Divorce in New York

In 2010, New York introduced no-fault grounds for divorce, which simplified the process and reduced the need for assigning blame. The no-fault ground is based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least six months. This means that neither party needs to prove wrongdoing or fault; instead, they can cite an irreparable breakdown of the marital relationship as the reason for seeking divorce.

Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce

While no-fault divorce has streamlined the process, New York State still recognizes several fault-based grounds for divorce. These grounds include:

  1. Cruel and Inhuman Treatment: This ground covers instances of physical or emotional abuse, making it unsafe or improper for the couple to continue living together.
  2. Abandonment: If one spouse abandons or deserts the other for a continuous period of one year or more, it can be grounds for divorce.
  3. Imprisonment: If one spouse is imprisoned for three or more consecutive years after the marriage, the other spouse can seek a divorce on this ground.
  4. Adultery: Infidelity or adultery by either spouse can be cited as grounds for divorce in New York State.


If one spouse has been imprisoned for three or more consecutive years after the marriage, the other spouse may file for divorce on the grounds of imprisonment. This ground applies regardless of whether the imprisonment was for a felony or misdemeanor conviction.


Adultery is a fault-based ground for divorce in New York State. To establish adultery as a ground for divorce, one spouse must provide evidence that their partner engaged in sexual intercourse with someone else during the marriage. It’s important to note that other forms of infidelity, such as emotional affairs or online relationships, do not typically meet the legal definition of adultery in New York.

The Role of Evidence in Fault-Based Divorces

In cases where fault-based grounds are cited, the burden of proof lies with the spouse alleging the fault. This means that substantial evidence must be provided to support the claims of cruelty, abandonment, imprisonment, or adultery. The type and amount of evidence required can vary depending on the specific ground and the circumstances of the case.

The Impact of Grounds on the Divorce Process

The grounds for divorce can influence various aspects of the divorce proceedings, including child custody, spousal support (alimony), and the division of assets. For instance, in cases of adultery or cruel treatment, the court may consider these factors when determining alimony or property distribution.

Seeking Legal Guidance

Given the complexities of What are Grounds for Divorce in New York State and the potential impact of different grounds, it is highly recommended to seek legal guidance from experienced divorce attorneys. A skilled attorney can help you understand your rights, navigate the legal process, and ensure that your interests are protected throughout the divorce proceedings.


Divorce is a significant life event that requires careful consideration and adherence to legal requirements. In New York State, there are various grounds for divorce, ranging from no-fault options to fault-based grounds such as cruelty, abandonment, imprisonment, and adultery. Understanding these grounds and their implications is crucial for making informed decisions and ensuring a fair and equitable resolution. Whether you’re considering a no-fault or fault-based divorce, seeking legal counsel from experienced divorce attorneys can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout this challenging process.

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