Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznare
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New York Court Rejects "Social Abandonment" as Ground for Divorce

A New York court of appeals has rejected a wife's claim for divorce on grounds of "constructive abandonment" on grounds that "the husband refused to engage in social interaction with the wife by refusing to celebrate with her or acknowledge Valentine's Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the wife's birthday, by refusing to eat meals together, by refusing to attend family functions or accompany the wife to movies, shopping, restaurants, and church services, by leaving her once at a hospital emergency room, by removing the wife's belongings from the marital bedroom, and by otherwise ignoring her."  Such "social abandonment," the court held, does not rise to the level of constructive abandonment, which New York courts have held requires constant refusal to engage in sexual relations despite repeated requests. 

The opinion details the history of constructive abandonment, and is a very interesting read.  See it in full here.


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