To file for divorce in New York, you must first meet and residency requirements and then have a legally acceptable reason to file for a divorce.

Residency requirements:

Grounds for Divorce

In New York, there are seven legally acceptable reasons you may file for a divorce:

  1. irretrievable breakdown in relationship for a period of at least 6 months
    This ground is usually called a no-fault divorce. The marriage must be over for at least 6 months, and all economic issues, including debt, how the marital property will be divided, and custody and support of the children have been settled.
  2. cruel and inhuman treatment
    The Plaintiff must prove they were physically or mentally in danger and it is unsafe or improper for the Plaintiff to continue living with the Defendant. The plaintiff must provide proof of specific acts that are serious and happened in the past five years.
  3. abandonment
    The spouse must have abandoned the Plaintiff for at least one year or more. Two examples of abandonment: where the spouse physically leaves the home without any intention of returning or where the spouse refuses to have sex with the other spouse, ( constructive abandonment).
  4. imprisonment
    Your spouse must have been in prison for 3 or more years in a row. The spouse must have been put into prison after the marriage began. The Plaintiff can use this ground while the spouse is in prison or up to 5 years after the spouse was released from prison.
  5. adultery
    To use this ground, the Plaintiff must show that the spouse committed adultery during the marriage. This ground can be hard to prove because evidence from someone besides the Plaintiff and spouse is needed.
  6. divorce after a legal separation agreement
    To use this ground, the Plaintiff and Defendant sign and file a valid separation agreement and live apart for one year. The separation agreement must have specific requirements included to be valid.
  7. divorce after a judgment of separation
    Very rare case when the Court when 1. a judgment of separation is executed 2. the couple lives apart for one year 3. divorce is granted