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What is a defense to a New York divorce based on cruel and inhuman treatment?

Defenses to a New York divorce action upon the grounds of cruel and inhuman treatment include but are not limited to: (1) the five-year statute of limitation – the events occurred five years prior to the date of commencement of the action.  See Domestic Relations Law § 210.

Under the present New York divorce statute, there is no recriminatory defense in a divorce action based upon cruel and inhuman treatment and the court will probably dismiss any such affirmative defense.  See Mante v Mante, 34 AD2d 134(2d Dept 1970).  However, the defendant may show that misconduct by the plaintiff (the lure and attraction of another woman is a classic example) was the cause of his leaving the defendant's wife rather than the alleged cruel and inhuman treatment of the wife.  To that extent, the information is material and necessary to the defense of the action.  See Walden v Walden, 41 AD2d 664 (2d Dept 1973); CPLR § 3126.

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