No-Fault Divorce Law Enacted In New York


On August 16, 2010, New York State finally joined every other state in the nation by enacting a no-fault divorce law. Under the new law, which goes into effect on December 14, 2010, judges may now grant divorces when a marriage has been “irretrievably broken” for more than six months. Previously, a husband or wife, faced with an uncooperative spouse, could only obtain a divorce if he or she could prove fault-based grounds such as cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment, or adultery. And even when spouses agreed to divorce, if they could not honestly demonstrate grounds, their only option was to either invent grounds to satisfy New York’s out-of-step statute or, even before applying for a divorce, live apart for a full year under a separation agreement.

The new no-fault law allows couples to divorce without deviating from the truth, and effectively ends one spouse’s ability to hold the other in an unhappy marriage that was not quite unhappy enough to satisfy any of New York’s fault-based grounds for divorce.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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