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Can violence ever serve as a basis for a divorce?

Last week, this Mohawk Valley family law blog discussed how an individual may use abandonment as a fault grounds for their divorce. There are six other fault-based reasons that a person may utilize to end their marriage, and this week this post will explore cruel and inhuman treatment as a basis for ending a marriage.

Unlike abandonment, which requires one spouse to physically leave or avoid the other spouse, cruel or inhuman treatment involves the occurrence of physically or mentally abusive events between the married individuals. When considering cruel or inhuman treatment as a basis for divorce, a court will look at evidence of one of the partners being put in danger by the actions of the other.

While many couples experience disagreements or even fights during the course of their relationships, many are able to overcome those differences without resorting to dangerous practices. A simple fight between married people cannot provide the evidence a court needs to end a marriage based on cruelty or inhuman treatment. Any evidence that a court does use must have occurred within the five years preceding the divorce proceedings.

In cases of marital abuse and violence, it is important for the abused partner to seek protections from their spouse. Attorneys who work in the family law field can often provide their clients with guidance on how to seek protective orders from the courts to ensure their safety.

Throughout New York, different couples will use different fault grounds for bringing their legal relationships to their ends. Occurrences of violence and abuse between married people may provide sufficient evidence for a court to end a marriage based on cruel and inhuman treatment. Individuals who believe that this fault ground may be available to them are encouraged to seek legal help to protect them from further instances of danger or violence at the hands of their partners.

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