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What Are the Grounds for Divorce on Long Island?

by | Nov 27, 2018 | Divorce Long Island, NY

If you’re considering the possibility of getting a divorce on Long Island, it’s important that you understand some of the basics of New York divorce law. Explore the grounds for divorce and decide which option best describes your unique situation. Then, contact an experienced family law firm to help guide you through the process of filing for divorce in Long Island and inform you of what your next steps should be.

Long Island Grounds for Divorce

In New York State, a few basic criteria must be met before you can file for divorce. You must meet the residency requirement, and you must also have a legally acceptable reason for divorce, also known as “grounds“.

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No-Fault Divorce

A no-fault divorce, also considered an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for over 6 months, is one of the most common grounds for divorce used in New York.

Divorce After Legal Separation

If you and your spouse chose to legally separate and have lived apart for one year, you may file for divorce if you should decide that you wish to continue to be separated. To be valid when used as grounds for divorce later, the separation agreement must meet certain criteria. Getting a divorce lawyer involved at the time you file for legal separation can help you ensure that your agreement allows you the option for divorce in the future should you choose.


If your spouse is imprisoned for three or more consecutive years after you got married you can file for divorce based on these grounds. You may also use this as a grounds for divorce for up to five following the release of your spouse from prison.


If your spouse abandons you for a year or more, you may use this as a grounds for divorce. There are two types of abandonment under New York law:

  • Your spouse leaves the family home with no intention of coming back
  • Your spouse refuses to have intimate relations, also considered constructive abandonment


Although you can use adultery as a grounds for divorce, this can be more difficult than it seems. Long Island courts require more than allegations of adultery — you must have some evidence other than the testimony of yourself and your spouse that can corroborate that the adultery occurred.

Cruel and Inhumane Treatment

This is a less commonly used ground for divorce in New York, but it is still an option if it best explains your situation and why you are seeking a divorce from your spouse. You must be able to prove to a judge that in the last five years of your marriage, you were treated cruelly or inhumanely. You must be able to show the judge that you were physically, emotionally, or mentally in danger as a result of the actions of your spouse and you cannot continue to safely live with your spouse. Typically, cases of domestic violence or abuse fall within this category.

Divorce After Judgment of Separation

A divorce after judgment of separation is the least commonly used grounds for divorce. It requires that the New York Supreme Court draw up a judgment of separation and you and your spouse live apart for one year, after which you are legally allowed to get a divorce. This is similar in some ways to a legal separation.

Contact Our Long Island Divorce Law Firm Today for Help

Don’t wait to get legal help if you’re considering the option of divorce. Although divorce can be heartbreaking and is never the plan to start out with, it can be the best option for difficult situations where the marriage simply cannot be repaired. When you file for divorce, the grounds you select can have a significant bearing on how the rest of your divorce case proceeds. An experienced Long Island divorce attorney can help you determine which grounds for divorce best explains the situation you’re in and can help you fill out the paperwork needed to formally file for divorce.

Contact our Long Island Divorce & Family Law firm at 631-923-1910 to set up your free consultation to learn more about your legal options or to start the process of divorce. We can help.


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At your meeting, your attorney will describe the many options available and determine together which is the right solution for you. By the end of this meeting we’ll all understand how we can best help you to move forward.

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