The big news that shook the New York divorce world last week was the passage of a no-fault divorce bill in the NY Senate by a 32-29 vote. Since 1966, New York judges have only been able to grant a divorce on grounds of cruelty, adultery, abandonment or imprisonment for at least three years, leaving New York as the only state in which one spouse may not unilaterally terminate a marriage. In practical matters, this results in unhappy couples lying to courts and committing perjury in order to obtain a divorce; someone has to take the blame.
While this potential change in the law has received tremendous coverage in the news over the last week and is certainly long overdue, New York has essentially had its own form of no fault divorce. If a couple signs a separation agreement and lives apart for at least one year, they are able to get a divorce without having to point fingers at one another to establish “fault.”
Whether the Assembly and Governor Paterson pass the bill into law remains to be seen, but critics believe the largest hurdle has been passed with the Senate’s approval.