August 19, 2010

No Fault Divorce for NY

Posted in Divorce tagged at 3:55 pm by demetriagraves

California was the first state to introduce no fault divorce over forty years ago.  Now New York has just made breaking up easier to do, passing a no-fault divorce law that stands to reduce long, cutthroat court battles over who’s to blame when marriages fail. On August 14, New York became the last state in the union to authorize divorces without a judicial finding of fault attributable to one or both of the spouses. The no-fault divorce bill, signed into law by Governor David Paterson recently, amends the state’s Domestic Relations Law to add a seventh ground for divorce – that a marriage has irretrievably broken down for a period of at least six months.

The new law permits couples to split without assigning blame for the marriage’s collapse. It’s widely known that a grounds trial, and the expense and delay associated with it, is not a good thing. Previously, New York was the only U.S. state without no- fault divorce. Spouses who disagreed on terms of a divorce couldn’t dissolve their marriage unless one proved the other committed an act such as cruelty, adultery or abandonment. The result was protracted for some couples, with trials over who was to blame for the dissolution of a marriage, and, sometimes, false claims to make the allegation fit the law. The law, which goes into effect in 60 days, will take some of the acrimony and de facto lying out of divorce proceedings. This is going to make things more honest, by eliminating the need to show blame.

Two little words, “I do” seal the deal for people getting married. Now two comparably bigger words “irreconcilable differences” will make it easier for New York residents to unseal that same deal. Allowing one spouse to cite irreconcilable differences in a divorce, as they commonly do in all other states means that the other spouse won’t need to, or even be able to, defend the charge. This will save legal fees, judicial resources and streamline the process, as it has done in all the other states.

Even though, we’ve had no fault divorce in California for over forty years it doesn’t mean that you won’t need an attorney. Divorces can still become confrontational and you want to make sure that you can walk away with a settlement that you’re happy with, so that you can make that fresh start. I offer a free confidential initial consultation where you can get all your questions answered and ensure that you’re headed in the right direction with your divorce.


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