New York's New No Fault Divorce Law Takes Effect

By Ben Fractenberg on October 12, 2010 10:57am 

Couples in New York were able to file for a no fault divorce starting Tuesday, October 12, 2010.
Couples in New York were able to file for a no fault divorce starting Tuesday, October 12, 2010.
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Flickr/Aquistbe

By Ben Fractenberg

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — Getting divorced in New York state just got a bit easier.

A new no fault divorce law took effect Tuesday in New York, making it possible for couples to end their marriage through stating irrevocable differences rather than having to place blame on one person.

New York was the last state to sign no fault divorce into law.

"Finally, New York has brought its divorce laws into the twenty-first century," Gov. David Paterson said in a statement after the signing the bill into law in August.

In the past, couples would have to go through a one-year separation or prove that one marriage partner was responsible for acts like cruelty, adultery or abandonment.

The law often caused protracted legal battles with both sides trying to place blame on the other and divorce lawyers racking up billable hours.

"A lot of my clients ... want to file tomorrow," divorce lawyer Suzanne Kimberly Bracker told the New York Post Monday. "They've been suffering in dead marriages but never wanted to go through a contested-divorce process."

Critics contend no fault divorce will make it too easy for married couples to call it quits rather than work through difficult issues.

Proponents say it will allow couples keen on getting divorced to focus on more important issues.

"By removing the requirement to prove fault, divorcing couples and the courts will no longer have to waste resources litigating on whether a marriage should end, but will be able to better focus on issues such as the welfare of the children, fair division of marital assets and other economic concerns,” New York State Bar Association President Stephen Younger said in a statement after the bill became law.

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