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Constructive Abandonment (Sexual Abandonment Denied)

Justice Bruno sits in a Supreme Court located in Nassau County, New York. Last summer he made an interesting decision on a case that was before him. A man brought a divorce lawsuit against his wife. The grounds for divorce was constructive abandonment. (Sexual abandonment by the spouse for a period in excess of one year).

The man testified his wife had refused to have sexual relations with him for a period of twelve years. His wife testified that she never refused to have sexual relations with him. Judge Bruno found each of the parties credible in their testimony.

In his decision, he stated, “on balance, these competing versions of the relationship of the parties in and of itself is a wash.” “Put another way, plaintiff has not established a fair preponderance of the credible evidence that there was a constructive abandonment here where there is even balance of evidence the court is required to find for the defendant.”

Civil Case Evidence Standards

In a civil case, the standard a plaintiff must prove is called a preponderance of the evidence. This can be explained as the scales of justice, with more evidence on one side than the other. This is different than a criminal case, where a case must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and the district attorney’s office must obtain a unanimous jury decision.

Constructive abandonment issues involve what takes place in a married couples bedroom. These are almost always “he said, she said” cases.

Irreconcilable Differences

Under the new ground for divorce called irreconcilable differences, these issues are no longer significant. Under the new irreconcilable differences ground for divorce in New York, one party must simply allege that irreconcilable differences between the spouses have existed for a period of more then six months. This simplifies the grounds issue in divorce situation.

Long Island Divorce Lawyers

We are divorce lawyers and our office is on Long Island. We litigate all divorce related issues and family law issues. We deal with matters concerning orders of protection, child custody, child abuse and child neglect. We litigate annulments when appropriate. We represent individuals in high net worth divorces and we deal with issues concerning the division of property, fathers’ rights, mothers’ rights and both pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements. Call us if you need a divorce or family court attorney.

Elliot S. Schlissel
Articles and consultations authored by attorney reflect the state of law as of the date of their writing. The laws change daily. Users of this site are advised to consult attorney regarding their situation.
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