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New York Legislature Passes No-Fault Divorce Law

Published on 07/05/2010 -

The New York state Assembly voted in favor of a no-fault divorce law last Thursday. The Assembly passed the law, which had already been passed in the state Senate, 113 to 19.

New York is the only state that has not enacted no-fault divorce laws. Most other states passed such laws in the 1970s.

The new no-fault divorce law will mean that spouses will no longer have to prove fault, such as adultery or cruel and inhuman punishment, in order to be granted a divorce. New York currently allows a no-fault divorce only after the couple lives apart for 12 months and both agree to the terms of their divorce.

The new law will also mean that a spouse can unilaterally file for a divorce without reaching consent or an agreement with the other spouse. Therefore, courts will now play a major role in resolving the major issues in divorce such as property division, alimony, child custody, and child support.

Opponents of the no-fault law are weary of court involvement which will lead to heightened litigation. Opponents are also fearful that the non-monied spouse, typically the wife, will have little bargaining power within a unilateral divorce action.

The legislation must still be signed into law by Governor Paterson.

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