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What are the residency requirements and grounds for divorce?

Sometimes, the seemingly simplest matters are the most complex and with a New York divorce, those who are moving forward with ending the union must be cognizant of the residency requirements and the grounds for divorce in the state. To meet the residency requirement, one of the spouses must have been a resident of New York on a continuous basis for a minimum of two years before the case can start; one of the spouses must have been living in the state continuously for a minimum of one year before the case has started and the marriage took place in the state, or they lived in New York as a married couple, or the grounds for the divorce occurred in the state; or the spouses were residents of the state on the day the divorce began and the grounds took place in the state.

There are seven grounds for a divorce to take place in New York. Any one will justify the decision for the couple to end the marriage. First, there must have been an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship for a minimum of six months. This is usually referred to as a no-fault divorce. Second, there must have been cruel and inhuman treatment within the previous five years. It must be at a level when the person filing is in physical or mental danger.

Third, there can be abandonment. One spouse must have left the other for one year or longer without the intention of returning or if one spouse refuses to have sex with the other. Fourth is imprisonment with a spouse having been imprisoned for three or more consecutive years. This imprisonment must have taken place after the couple was married. This can be used during the incarceration or for as much as five years after the release.

Fifth is adultery. The plaintiff is required to show that the adultery took place while the couple was married. Sixth, there is a divorce after a legal separation agreement. For this, the couple must have signed and filed the agreement to separate and have lived separately for a minimum of one year. Finally, there is a divorce after a judgment of separation. This is infrequently utilized as the Supreme Court must draw up a judgment for separation and the couple has lived separately for one year.

Getting a divorce can be a confusing and dispute-laden matter. At the end of a marriage, it is a wise decision to have legal help from an attorney experienced in the divorce legal issues that will inevitably arise including residency and grounds.

Source: nycourts.gov, "Residency and Grounds," accessed on March 27, 2017

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