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NY Sports Stars Cheat on Their Wives...So What?

Believe it or not, Tiger Woods isn't the only athlete who is unfaithful to his wife. Two of New York's biggest sports stars, one current and one former, have been donning the back pages of newspapers this week, and like Tiger, it hasn't been for their freakishly superior athletic prowess.

A TMZ report surfaced on Wednesday that New York Mets' Ace pitcher Johan Santana was accused of sexual battery in Florida last October for allegedly raping a woman on a golf course. DNA evidence proved that intercourse took place, and Santana apparently admitted to having consensual sex, however, according to a Sheriff's Document, "There was not enough evidence to prove lack of consent, the alleged victim's statement is not consistent with other witnesses." The case was closed out on December 8, 2009.

Sports stars committing acts of infidelity certainly isn't a novel occurrence, but it does lead to some interesting issues regarding divorce in the state of New York. In order to get divorced in NY, a couple must satisfy both grounds and residency requirements. There are five ways to satisfy residency, and in Santana's case, it would suffice that he and his wife live together in NY and at least one of them is a NY resident at the time the action would be commenced, living in NY continuously for one year prior to the action. Remember, this is purely speculative and hypothetical; there is no indication anywhere that Santana's wife is seeking or will seek a divorce.

As for grounds, Santana is an admitted adulterer. It is not enough for the spouse at fault to just admit unfaithfulness though; in order for a court to grant a divorce, it requires corroborating evidence from a third party. Here, such evidence appears to exist with Santana's accuser in Florida.

In addition to the civil implications of cheating on your spouse, adultery is also a criminal offense in NY. Although the government has not prosecuted this offense in an extremely long time, it remains a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.

The other star athlete facing accusations of sexual misconduct this week is Hall of Famer and former New York Giant, Lawrence Taylor. Taylor was indicted Wednesday by a Rockland County grand jury on charges of third-degree rape and patronizing a prostitute.

Taylor married his third wife, Lynette Gordon, in July 2007, but unlike Santana, Taylor has denied having intercourse with his accuser.

** Neither Taylor's nor Santana's wife has publicly indicated any desire to seek a divorce based on their husbands' alleged acts of infidelity, and this post is purely intended to examine potential legal issues surrounding adultery in NY in general.

If you or someone you know is considering getting divorced, contact The Mandel Law Firm today for a free consultation to review your options.

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