No-Fault Divorce in New York
In 2010, New York became the last state in the country to pass a no-fault divorce law, allowing spouses to file for a marital dissolution simply by asserting that their relationship was “irretrievably broken.” Prior to passage of the new law, petitioners for divorce would have to allege grounds, such as:
- Cruel and inhuman treatment
- Abandonment by the other spouse for at least a year
- Imprisonment of the other spouse for three or more years
- Living separately under a judgment of separation for at least a year
- Living separately under a legal separation agreement for at least a year
Some of these traditional grounds required the petitioner to prove facts that could discredit the responding spouse. That could mean revealing intimate details about the marriage that created a scandal damaging to both parties. The alternative was to delay dissolution for at least a year while the couple lived in separate households or, under certain circumstances, lived separately under one roof.
The 2010 law freed petitioners from these constraints and gave them greater privacy protections. A petitioner does not have to prove facts that persuade the court that the relationship has broken down and there is no hope for reconciliation.
A no-fault divorce should not be confused with an uncontested divorce. No-fault grounds simply allow the divorce to go forward. That doesn’t mean the spouses won’t have to litigate ancillary issues, such as child custody, child support, spousal maintenance or property division. But filing no-fault can make it easier to negotiate a settlement of those issues, since the divorce begins on a less antagonistic footing.
If you are considering divorce in the Buffalo area, the Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis and Associates provides aggressive representation. Call us at 716.886.9600 or contact our office online to schedule a consultation.