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No Fault Divorce in New York

As of October 2010, New York joined the ranks of most sister states, by enacting a law permitting a no fault grounds for divorce. The wording of the no fault divorce grounds is as follows: "the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for a period of at least six months."

As a tradeoff, and to protect the less monied spouse, in order to utilize this grounds for divorce, all issues of the divorce, including child support, maintenance (a/k/a alimony), equitable distribution of assets, and legal fees, must be resolved between the parties in a written stipulation, or court order, before a divorce will be granted on these grounds. It appears that a divorce will still be given on fault grounds, without having to resolve all issues (other than child support and custody, which was previously the law).

Once all issues are resolved in writing or by court order, either party can swear out an affidavit stating that the marriage has been irretrievably broken for six months, and the divorce will be granted.

Although at first blush it may seem easier to obtain a divorce on the new no-fault grounds, it is, in effect, actually more difficult, because of the requirement for the written stipulation or trial.


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