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No-Fault Divorce

No-Fault Divorce in New York

The Difference Between Fault-Based & No-Fault Divorce

In October of 2010, New York became the last of the 50 states to enact legislation allowing for no-fault divorce. The Legislature did not repeal the existing grounds, but instead added a no-fault ground for divorce.

Prior to this change, divorce could only be granted based on one of the following six grounds for divorce in NY:

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Cruel and inhuman treatment, including domestic violence
  • Imprisonment for three or more years
  • Living apart for one year as per a separation agreement
  • Living apart for one year per a judgment of separation

What Does "No-Fault" Mean for Divorce?

In New York divorces today, spouses can now end their marriage without citing specific grounds or admitting to any instances of wrongdoing or having to wait for the one-year separation period. This is known as "no-fault divorce."

New York No-Fault Divorce Requirements

In a no-fault divorce in NY, a spouse need only testify that the marriage has been “irretrievably broken.” New York Domestic Relations Law §170(7), the statute describing the new "no-fault" ground for divorce, now permits anyone to allege in their divorce complaint that"The relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months."

This new provision means that couples no longer have to endure court battles over who is to blame when a marriage doesn’t work. The option for no-fault divorces can potentially make it easier for couples to reach an amicable resolution without having to look for blame. To learn more about no-fault divorce, contact our firm today.

Wisselman, Harounian & Associates has the experience to guide you through a no-fault divorce. Contact us today to request your FREE, no-risk consultation!

Is No-Fault Divorce Bad?

In most cases, no! No-fault divorce is the preferred option for most couples, since it is not based on painful grounds like adultery or abuse, but rather due to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

That being said, no-fault divorce can have its downsides. Most no-fault divorces are filed by one spouse who is unhappy, often leading to a contested divorce if the other spouse does not want the divorce. But in uncontested cases, no-fault divorce is often much simpler and is the "better" option.

"Irretrievable Breakdown" vs. "Irreconcilable Differences"

It may strike you immediately that the language conspicuously absent from our new statute—and the language you may have heard before—is "irreconcilable differences". Instead, our statute uses the phrase "broken down irretrievably." While there is no official definition of this vague language written by Albany legislators, the intent was likely to enable either party to allege that the marriage has been dead for a period of six or more months for whatever reason or, more importantly, for no reason.

Prior to no-fault divorce in NY, the law compelled people to exaggerate truths or tell untruths in order to get a divorce. Now, it is no longer necessary to air dirty laundry in Court to seek a divorce. Also, if someone wants a divorce and their spouse has not treated them badly, they don't have to falsely allege otherwise. Divorce can simply be a choice by one or both spouses who desire to end their marriage, regardless of the reason why.

Navigating the Recent Changes to Spousal Maintenance Issues

In addition to the new no-fault divorce law were changes to resolving maintenance issues. Maintenance, also referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance, refers to payments made by one spouse to another in order to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage. Working with these recent changes, and the complex financial and/or child custody issues that can arise, requires the help of an experienced attorney.

Need Help with Your No-Fault Divorce? Call for a Free Review!

Divorce can be an emotionally trying time in your life. With so many details to work out, especially when children are involved, the divorce process can be overwhelming without having an experienced lawyer on your side. Fortunately, you can turn to Wisselman, Harounian & Associates for the compassionate support you need. We are a distinguished group of attorneys with more than 150 years of combined experience. Our team is renowned for our dedication to our clients, our diverse range of experience in divorce and family law, and our expertise in preparing cases for trial.

One of our skilled lawyers can help you through the no-fault divorce process while working tirelessly to resolve issues and help avoid costly litigation. Our lawyers excel in developing customized case strategies that reflect and achieve the objectives of our clients. Our firm in Great Neck is dedicated to protecting you both legally and financially. We believe in the importance of open and honest communication, and we are always available to update you on the status of your case and answer any questions you may have.

Contact Wisselman, Harounian & Associates today. Your initial consultation is free!

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