New York DLR 170 (2) Constructive Abandonment Case

In C C.P. v. G.P. (6 Misc. 3d 1034A, 800 N.Y.S.2d 343 Sup. Ct. Nassau Co. 2005), plaintiff-wife served an amended complaint asserting causes of action for constructive abandonment and cruelty, with the former ground based upon failure to engage in social relations. Among plaintiff's allegations was that despite her desire for her husband to attend social functions and participate in celebrations with her, for over ten years he refused to speak to her except sporadically and did not eat a meal with her or a meal prepared by her. In addition, she asserted that he refused to sleep in the marital bedroom with her, or celebrate or participate in holidays, birthdays or the children's graduation parties with her. Discussing the application of DRL 170(2) to the denial of social relations, the Trial Court observed: "The very core of a marriage is the concept of a 'relationship.' A defendant spouse who has completely refused to engage in any form of social interaction with the plaintiff spouse, for more than one year prior to the commencement of an action for divorce pursuant to DRL 170(2), without cause or condonation, has unquestionably failed to fulfill a basic obligation arising from the marital contract, thereby abandoning the plaintiff, no less than if the defendant had physically abandoned the plaintiff or unjustifiably refused to engage in sexual relations." (Id., 6 Misc.3d 1034A, 800 N.Y.S.2d 343, 2005 NY Slip Op 50293U, at 6).