New Divorce Law

On October 12th, 2010 New York joined all other states in the country to enact a no fault divorce bill. Although the fault grounds still remain, such as adultery and cruel and inhuman treatment, the new law provides that a divorce can be obtained based upon an irretrievably broken marriage, provided that such condition has existed for a period of at least six months and one spouse has so stated under oath.

The new law does not contain a definition of irretrievable breakdown, nor does it provide for any defenses. As such, it appears that a divorce will be granted just for the asking. However, it is important to note that before a divorce can be granted now, all other financial matters must be agreed to or decided by the courts, which would include a division of marital property, an award of child support and maintenance (alimony), and counsel fees.

New provisions for the award of counsel fees, the fixation of temporary, but not permanent maintenance based upon a presumptive formula, will be discussed in a later blog.