Close this search box.

NY Legislators To Consider Easing Divorce Laws

You love each other but concede the marriage is not working. Nobody’s fault, really. For couples wanting to get a divorce in New York, that’s a problem.

New York remains the last state in the country without a no-fault divorce law that allows couples to divorce quickly and without much legal expense.

Off and on since California became the first state to adopt no-fault divorce proceedings in 1969, New York legislators have made repeated, but unsuccessful attempts to simplify the state’s divorce laws.

The issue is once again up for debate. The state Senate is holding a hearing Thursday afternoon on marriage-law reforms, including the adoption of a no-fault divorce.

In New York, couples who want to divorce must fault their spouse on specific grounds, like adultery or the more nebulous charge of cruel and inhuman treatment. A spouse who abandons another for more than a year or who is imprisoned for more than three years can be granted a divorce. Otherwise, couples must legally separate for a year before being allowed to file for divorce.

Advocates of no-fault laws say time and money is wasted on legal fees, making a difficult and stressful predicament worse, especially for children.

The last major effort to reform the state’s marriage laws was in 2006, when a matrimonial commission issued a report calling for sweeping reforms. Foremost among them was instituting no-fault divorces. The chairwoman of the commission, Judge Sondra Miller, is scheduled to speak at Thursday’s hearing.

A forceful opponent of no-fault divorce is the National Organization for Women. The New York chapter of NOW wrote in a policy paper that no-fault divorce is especially harmful to women who are victims of domestic abuse.

“No-fault divorce takes away their options, it allows the spouse with no grounds, batterer or not, to obtain a divorce over the objections of the less powerful spouse without negotiating a divorce settlement,” the group wrote.

The 2006 matrimonial commission report addressed this issue, however. It recommended that no-fault divorces not be allowed to be finalized until both spouses resolve in writing their concerns over child custody, child support and other economic concerns.

(Source: Crains NY)

Leave a Reply

Popular Posts