When Can I Cite Abandonment as Grounds for My Divorce?

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019, 11:12 pm

In New York, there are a number of different reasons or grounds you can cite for wanting a divorce. While some of these reasons are fairly clear-cut, some are not. One of the grounds for divorce is abandonment. Because it’s not one of the more common grounds for divorce, many people don’t fully understand when they can use abandonment as a reason for getting divorced.

What Is the Legal Definition of Abandonment?

New York defines abandonment in two different ways. The first is the actual abandonment of the home. If your spouse has left and has no intention of returning, you can cite physical abandonment after one year. In some cases, it’s easy to show that your spouse has been gone for a year. However, if your spouse leaves, but intermittently returns, you may need to seek a different reason for your divorce. There are several factors that play into this form of abandonment, including your spouse’s intent on not returning, whether or not you agreed that your spouse should move out of the home, and the amount of continuous time they have been gone.

The other definition of abandonment is known as constructive abandonment. This is defined as one spouse refusing to have sexual relations with the other for a year. Again, this has to be a continuous year, and it must be without your agreement. The logic here is that one person has had what is called a “hardening of resolve” not to live as spouses and is neglecting what is seen as a basic part of a marriage. It can be very difficult to prove this type of abandonment, of course, because it’s often your word against theirs. There are also specific rules that govern this grounds for divorce, such as your spouse must not have any psychological or physical disabilities that make sexual relations difficult.

Should You Cite Abandonment?

When it comes to making a decision on what grounds to cite for divorce, you do have to carefully weigh your options. If your spouse has clearly physically left your home for a year, abandonment may be the clear choice. For example, if you can easily prove your spouse has a new address and job in another state, it may be an easy win.

On the other hand, sometimes abandonment isn’t as easy to prove as it seems, especially if you’re citing constructive abandonment. In that case, you need experienced help on your side. The FK Law Group has years of experience in divorce cases and can assist you in putting together the best possible case.

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Category: Divorce Law, Uncategorized


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