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No Fault Divorce Now the Law in New York

By Barbara J. King

With the stroke of a pen, Governor David Paterson has now made the process of getting a divorce much like it is in the rest of the United States. No-fault divorce, which can often streamline the divorce process, is now the law in New York State.

Critics of the long debated legislation claimed that no-fault would minimize the seriousness of marriage, making divorce too simple. Proponents of the law said that the legislation would make it easier a spouse to leave an abusive situation.

With no-fault divorce now the law in New York, couples will no longer have to cite grounds such as cruelty, abandonment or adultery when seeking a divorce. Also, the divorce can now be granted with just one party requesting the dissolution.

However, couples will still need to come to an agreement on such issues as custody, support and division of assets. And in many cases, coming to an agreement on these issues can be a very time consuming process. And no-fault does not help resolve these issues and in fact precludes the court from entering a divorce until such resolution is reached.

According to Tully Rinckey Partner Tom Carr, the new law will mostly apply to those who have come to terms with the end of their marriage. “This will be for people who really want a divorce,” he said. “And even when that is the case, it can still take some time and the other party can still contest the divorce.”

When that becomes the case, Carr recommends obtaining a qualified divorce attorney.

“Based on the complexity that still surrounds divorce, it is best to have a professional handle your legal matters during what can be a very difficult time.”


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