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Many people do not realize that there are certain legally acceptable grounds on which a New York resident can get a divorce. Where previously a divorce was only granted for fault in the state, in 2010 no-fault divorces became legally possible. An at-fault divorce means that one spouse files for a divorce alleging that their spouse is at fault.

An at-fault divorce has four grounds. The first alleges cruel and inhumane treatment, where the judge looks for specific acts of cruelty that took place in the five years prior to the divorce filing. Arguments alone do not count. Cruelty must be such that it physically or mentally endangers the spouse and it is unsafe for the couple to remain married. Abandonment, the second ground for at-fault divorce, refers to one spouse leaving the house for one year or more or not having sex with their spouse for one year or more. The third ground for an at-fault divorce is imprisonment. Here, one spouse must have been in prison for three or more consecutive years and must have gone into prison after getting married. Adultery is the fourth ground. To prove this ground, a spouse must prove the other is committing adultery.

Where the grounds for a divorce is an irretrievable breakdown in relationship for a period of six months, it is generally known as a no-fault divorce. For this ground to be used, the marriage must have been over for six months and a final settlement regarding property, alimony, and child custody must be made.

Divorce brings with it life-altering changes. It is therefore important to know the ramifications of one’s decisions before embarking on this journey. Speaking to an experienced attorney may be helpful when considering marriage dissolution, as he or she can discuss which ground one’s divorce falls under and the proof necessary to make one’s case.