New York State recognizes the following as “grounds” for divorce:
- Cruel and inhumane treatment
- Abandonment for one or more years
- Imprisonment for three or more consecutive years
“No-fault grounds,” or cases where neither spouse is judged to have fault, include the following:
- Living separate and apart for one year under a Separation Agreement
- Living separate and apart for one year under a Separation Decree granted by a court
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least six months, provided one spouse states under oath
A divorce case may also settle issues of child custody, child support, maintenance, and the division of assets, among other issues that need to be agreed upon or decided by the court.
A separation agreement may be negotiated with the assistance of a separate matrimonial attorney for each party. This is a legally-binding contract wherein both parties agree to live separately from each other for the rest of their lives. It may also spell out terms regarding child custody, child support, maintenance, division of assets, or other issues. The agreement is signed and filed with the County Clerk’s Office where either spouse resides. In addition, either party may sue the other for divorce after one year on the grounds of living separate and apart pursuant to a separation agreement. Spouses can also be legally separated through a court’s judgment of separation. One year after filing such, a fully-compliant party with the judgment’s terms may sue the other party for divorce on grounds of living separate and apart pursuant to a judgment of separation.
Qualified Domestic Relations Order – “QDRO”
This is an order required so that an investment company or pension program can divide the marital portion of a party’s retirement account, such as a pension, profit-sharing account, 401k, 403b, deferred compensation, IRA, or other retirement account. The process of drafting it, and obtaining the approval, signature and court order is considered a post-divorce matter. Therefore, it requires a separate retainer agreement and fee from the divorce itself.
The information above is very basic and is not meant to serve as legal advice. If you wish to discuss your case in more depth, please call us
to set up a consultation regarding your personal situation.