How do I contest a divorce in New York state?

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Question:

My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years now. He wants to Divorce me but I don’t want to and I think things can be worked out. We’ve just been arguing a lot lately but none of us have cheated, up to my knowledge at least. How does this process work in New York? What would the approvable grounds for Divorce be?

Answer:

New York state allows the granting of a “fault-based” divorce. This means one party must be able to prove the other party wronged them in order to obtain a divorce. The only exception to this is if the husband and wife are already living separately either due to a court-ordered separation or because of a private separation agreement. For an overview of the New York divorce process, please see the link below.

There are four grounds for fault-based divorce in New York state. The first is cruel and inhumane treatment, such as physical or emotional abuse. The threshold for “cruel and inhumane” is that it would be “unsafe or improper” for one or both parties to remain in the marriage. The second ground for divorce is abandonment. This means that your spouse has either left or locked you out of the home for one year or more. The third ground is three or more consecutive years of imprisonment. If your spouse has been incarcerated for three or more consecutive years since the date of the marriage, that is a grounds for divorce. The final is adultery. This is difficult to prove as it requires a witness who is not a party to the marriage.

Since you are considering contesting the divorce, it is important that you retain counsel. Family law is a challenging area of practice and most family attorneys are highly specialized. A contested divorce proceeding can be drawn into protracted litigation and you are best served by being represented by an attorney who is familiar with both family law and civil litigation. Please see the link below for more information on hiring a divorce attorney who can best help you resolve this issue as expeditiously as possible.

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