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Divorce

Divorce in New York

To obtain a divorce in New York you must first satisfy two main requirements:

(1) residency and

(2) have a legal ground (“Ground” means a legally acceptable reason for the divorce).

The requirements and the acceptable grounds for divorce in New York are set out in Domestic Relations Law (NYDRL).

Residency Requirement

In New York, an action for divorce may be maintained only when you meet one or more of the following:

1. You were married in the state of New York and either you or your spouse is a resident of the state of New York and has been a resident of the state of New York for a continuous period of one year immediately prior to filing for divorce (prior to filing in the Supreme Court)

OR

2. You and your spouse resided in the state of New York as married persons and either spouse is a resident at the time when the action is started and has been a resident for a continuous period of one year immediately prior to filing for divorce

OR

3. The cause (reason for the divorce) happened in the state of New York and either spouse had been a resident of New York for a continuous period of at least one year immediately prior to filing for divorce

OR

4. The cause (reason for the divorce) happened in the state of New York and both spouses are residents of New York at the time of the filing for divorce

OR

5. Either spouse has been a resident of the state of New York for a continuous period of at least two years immediately prior to the filing for divorce
The above residency requirements are set out in Domestic Relations Law Section §230.

Divorce Grounds

There are seven legally acceptable grounds (or reasons) for divorce in New York and they are set out in Domestic Relations Law §170:

  • Cruel and Inhuman Treatment (DRL § 170 (1))
  • Abandonment (DRL § 170 (2))
  • Imprisonment (DRL § 170 (3))
  • Adultery (DRL § 170 (4))
  • Living separate and apart pursuant to a separation judgment or decree (DRL § 170 (5))
  • Living separate and apart pursuant to a separation agreement (DRL § 170 (6))
  • Irretrievable breakdown in relationship or No-Fault Divorce (DRL § 170 (7))

 

Other Grounds for ending a Marriage

Annulment.
Domestic Relations Law Section §140 sets out the legal basis for an action to annul a voidable marriage. For instance, a marriage may be annulled on the ground that the parties or one of the parties was under the age of consent; was mentally retarded or mentally ill; was physically incapacitated; the consent to marry was obtained by force, duress or fraud; one of the parties has been incurably mentally ill for a period of five years or more.

Uncontested Divorce