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No-Fault Divorce (Finally) Comes To New York

Governor David A. Patterson recently signed a new groundbreaking “no-fault” divorce statute into law. The statute goes into effect on October 15, 2010 and brings New York into conformity with the other 49 states concerning the issue of no-fault divorce.

The statute provides for a new ground for divorce which does not assign blame or fault to either party. Instead, one of the parties to the marriage need only swear in an affidavit that the marriage is irretrievably broken for a period of six months. This becomes the sole basis for the divorce. All other issues involving child support, spousal maintenance, custody, equitable distribution of property and other issues that arise in a divorce are not effected by the new divorce law. These issues will still need to be worked out.

Prior to the new law, one of the parties either had to prove adultery, abandonment, cruel and inhumane treatment or imprisonment for a period of three years or that the parties were living separate and apart (pursuant to a written agreement of separation or a separation decree) for a period of one year. An individual seeing a divorce under the old law often had to lie in order to obtain a divorce with regard to the issue of grounds.

In addition to implementing no-fault divorce in New York, Governor Paterson also signed into law a number of other statutes related to divorce. One of these new statutes provides new guidelines for temporary spousal support during the course of a divorce. It also authorizes the court to grant a financially dependent spouse up-front attorney fees if necessary.

Although the legal process in dealing with the issue of fault in divorce has been simplified, their are still many complicating factors each of the parties must face involving issues such as custody, visitation, child support, spousal maintenance and equitable distribution. Should you be facing the prospect of a divorce, contact the attorneys at the law office of Elliot S. Schlissel for a free consultation at 1-800-344-6431, or by email.

Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach, Elmont, Lakeview, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Merrick, Bellmore