• February 23, 2023
  • Yoni Levoritz
  • Divorce

Grounds for Divorce: Jewish Perspective v. New York State
A guide by the Levoritz Law Firm

NYC Divorce Attorney

If you are a Jewish spouse, you may wonder what grounds you must meet under Jewish and New York State laws. Several similar grounds meet the requirements for a Jewish Divorce and a Civil divorce in New York State. Read on to learn more about the grounds for divorce for Spouses in New York state.

The Wife’s Jewish Grounds for a Divorce

According to Chabbad.org, the primary right of a woman to demand a divorce is linked to situations when the husband has neglected or abused basic marital needs. A Jewish wife also has the grounds to divorce her husband if he has been cheating on her with other women or otherwise not faithful to the relationship.

Abuse is always suitable grounds for a Jewish Divorce, as a Jewish wife is not expected to stay in an abusive situation with her husband.

If her husband is declared sterile, unable to have children, or otherwise unable to have sexual relations, then a Jewish wife would have grounds in a Rabbinical court to divorce her husband.

The Husband’s Jewish Grounds for a Divorce

Only husbands in Jewish law can get a divorce based on “no grounds,” which some scholars attribute to the late 1900s development of the orthodox Jewish movement.

However, there are also different grounds that Jewish Husbands have to divorce their wives under Jewish Law. These include conjugal visitation or inability for the wife to have sexual relations, adultery, impediments, and in some cases, no grounds are needed.

If a Jewish man’s wife is found to be adulterous by a third party, it is a religious tradition that the husband must immediately start the divorce proceedings.

Jewish men also have grounds to divorce their wife if she has an impediment or significant physical blemish, making it impossible to continue in the marriage union. However, the blemish must have existed before the marriage and was discovered after the marriage ceremony. A blemish on the wife that is significant that is formed after the marriage has started is not grounds for a divorce.

Jewish Spouses and Divorces
Whether the wife or the husband wishes to divorce in a Jewish court, the Rabbi will encourage the couple to reconcile their relationship. This could look like couples counseling with a team of Rabbis, or there could be activities that promote growth within the relationship.

In order to have a successful divorce in Jewish law, the couple must procure a “gett.” A gett is is a document in Jewish religious law that effectuates a divorce between a Jewish couple. The requirements for a get include a husband presenting the document to his wife. There are also specific instructions for what is written in the Gett.

What are the Grounds for a Divorce in New York State?

According to the New York State Courts, before you file for a divorce in New York State, you must (1) meet the residency requirement and (2) have a “ground” for the divorce; a legally acceptable reason for the divorce.

Under the Domestic Relations law Section 170, there are seven grounds for divorce in New York State. These include:

1. An irretrievable breakdown in the relationship for at least six months- This ground is usually called a no-fault divorce. To use this ground, the marriage must be over for at least six months, and all economic issues, including debt, how the marital property will be divided, and custody and support of the children, have been settled before using this grounds for divorce in New York State.
2. Cruel Treatment- To use this ground, the Judge will look for specific acts of cruelty in the last five years during the marriage union. It is not enough that you and your spouse had arguments or did not get along. The cruelty must rise to the level that one spouse is physically or mentally in danger, and it is unsafe or improper for the spouse to continue living with the other spouse.
3. Abandonment- To use this ground, the spouse must have abandoned the other spouse for at least one year or more. There are two scenarios where this is applicable- where the spouse physically leaves home without any intention of returning or where the spouse refuses to have sex with the other spouse; this is called “constructive” abandonment.
4. Imprisonment- To use this ground, the spouse must have been in prison for three or more years. The spouse must have been put into jail after the marriage began. The other spouse can use this ground while the spouse is in prison or up to five years after being released from jail.
5. Adultery- To use this ground, the spouse must show that the other spouse committed adultery during the marriage. This ground can be hard to prove because evidence from someone besides the two spouses is needed, such as evidence in the form of social media screenshots or a third-party testifying.
6. Divorce after a legal separation agreement- To use this ground, the two spouses must sign and file a valid separation agreement and live apart for one year. The separation agreement must include specific requirements to be accurate, which can be discussed with your attorney.
7. Divorce after a Judgment of Separation- This ground is rarely used. To use this ground, the Supreme Court draws a judgment of separation, and the married couple lives apart for one year.

Need help with your Divorce?

The Jewish Divorce attorneys at the Levoritz Law firm are ready and willing to answer any of your questions regarding New York or Jewish divorces. Call today for a FREE consultation at (855) 213-3104.

Similarities between Jewish Grounds for Divorce and New York State Law

There are several similarities between the Jewish legal grounds for divorce and New York State law’s regulations on grounds for divorce. In both situations, grounds for divorce can include adultery with proof, abuse, abandonment, lack of sexual relations, and if a spouse is imprisoned for five years or more.

However, in practicality, most people in New York State pursuing a divorce utilize the “no-fault” or an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship “grounds” to start the action of divorce in New York Family law courts.


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