Until just a couple of months ago, if you wanted to get divorced in New York State you International Divorce Attorney had to plead and prove fault grounds to be granted a divorce by the court. This basically meant that in order to get of your failed marriage you had to accuse your spouse of adultery, cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment, or other equally morally degrading acts. Not only did you have to accuse your spouse of one or more of these grounds for divorce, you had to prove to the New York Supreme Court that they were true. This complicated things.
In the case of adultery, New York has very stringent standards that do not even allow as sufficient proof a spouse’s own admission to adultery. Scorned spouse’s would desperately want to prove that their husband or wife had cheated on them as their final act of retribution, but sometimes they could not meet the high bar that New York set to prove adultery. You would have to spend a lot of money on attorneys’ fees, risk further hurting your family in an ugly divorce and waste a lot of time trying to meet these burdens of proof at trial. As you can see, the old system of fault based divorce was archaic at best and the cause of a lot of problems that are finally now avoided with the new no-fault regime.
Under the new New York no-fault divorce law, you can get divorced if your marriage has been “irretrievably” broken for six months. This means that as long as you and your spouse agree that you want to get divorced and will not argue the fact that your marriage has not been working for six months you can get divorced. Although, there is one caveat to New York’s no-fault divorce law: you need to have been married for at least six months in order to claim that your marriage has been failing for six months. You would be surprised how many calls our law firm gets from people who have been married for a month or two and already want out.
Another common misunderstanding about the new no-fault divorce law is that it is not unilateral divorce. You still need to know where your spouse is to serve them, so that they can sign the divorce papers or decide to contest the divorce. You cannot simply get divorced without your spouse’s consent or knowledge.
One of the many problems that New York’s fault based divorce laws resulted in was that it inadvertently encouraged perjury. How could a law promote an illegal act? Its simple. By requiring couples to jump through unreasonable hoops in order to be granted a divorce, the law was actually provoking couples to tell them what they wanted to hear just so they could get out of their failed marriages. A lot of couples thought that the state government had no right to tell them whether or not they could get divorced and so they resorted to lying as a means to get out of their marriage. A comedic example of this were the numerous cases where a pregnant wife would claim the fault grounds of constructive abandonment, meaning that she and her husband had not had sex for over a year, but the child was theirs. Go figure?
After the New York Supreme Court began accepting divorces based on no-fault grounds on October 12, 2010, there has been a tangible sense of freedom in the air. When people who were unable to get divorced for years are finally able to end their failed marriages, the excitement and relief is palpable.
The new no-fault divorce law has made getting a divorce in NY much easier.
David Centeno is the founding member of the Law Office of David Centeno, PLLC, a boutique divorce law firm in New York City. The law firm offers free consultations to anyone considering getting a New York no-fault divorce. Call (866) 830-2064 to schedule your free consultation today. To obtain original content from David Centeno, Esq. please call the number above to discuss guest blogging, exclusive article writing, journalistic content, and all other forms of content creation.