Understanding 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 causes:
- 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
Those are the six grounds for divorce that previously existed, but 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.
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 the no-fault divorce process. Contact us today to request your FREE, no-risk consultation!
"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 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 divorce attorney in Long Island.
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 Long Island divorce 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 no-fault divorce lawyers can help you through the 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 a Long Island divorce lawyer from Wisselman, Harounian & Associates today. Your initial consultation is free!
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