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Albany, NY - Lawmakers Approve No-Fault Divorce to Make It Faster and Less Expensive

Published on: July 1, 2010 11:07 PM
By: AP /  Buffalo News
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Albany, NY - New York will join the other 49 states permitting no-fault divorces to make it faster and less expensive for uncontested breakups under legislation given final approval tonight.

Perhaps more significant, the deal updates and makes more uniform the way in which maintenance — or alimony — is awarded, ending a current system that some lawmakers say forces some people to stay in abusive or empty relationships because of economic conditions.

Besides the no-fault and alimony components, the three-part legislative package also calls for the “monied” spouse in a couple with “greatly unequal financial resources” to pay lawyer fees of the other spouse in a divorce proceeding — a move intended to level the legal playing field between a divorcing husband and wife.

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“Taken together as a package, and it’s very important that they be enacted together, will make a real difference in helping families in New York state,” said Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, a Brooklyn Democrat who chairs the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee.

Under current law, New York judges can grant divorce only on grounds of cruelty, adultery, abandonment or getting sent to prison for at least three years. They also can grant a divorce one year after a couple file a separation agreement when both sides consent.

The new measure would require one spouse to swear under oath that the relationship has broken down irretrievably for at least six months. Property division, alimony, child custody and support would have to be resolved first.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, whose house passed it 113-19, says he believes Gov. David Paterson will sign it. Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook has said the governor will review the bill when it reaches his desk.

The Senate voted 32-29 two weeks ago to approve the change, which would take effect on signing.

“Without having to go through the process of determining which party’s at fault, it will certainly reduce the cost of divorce to a number of people in the state,” said Assemblyman Jonathan Bing, a Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the bill. For some it will likely be faster, he said.

This would make New York the 50th state to enact some version no-fault divorce, sponsors said.

Bing said experience in other states shows that change in the law reduces domestic violence and the suicide rate among women. Current New York law requires determining one spouse was a bad person, creates animosity, encourages perjury and makes it difficult for women in long-term marriages to get a divorce on grounds of cruelty, he said.

The New York Catholic Conference and the state chapter of the National Organization for Women opposed the measure. The conference said it made marriage disposable. NOW said it could make it easier for wealthy husbands who initiate divorce to hide assets and make it harder for abused women to get courts to recognize the abuse.

Advocates for abused women said it will make it easier for them to divorce men who don’t want to let them go.

Both houses also passed bills authorizing judges to require the wealthier spouse pay the other’s legal fees early in the process and to establish guidelines for setting temporary and post-divorce maintenance payments.


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Read Comments (21)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 01, 2010 at 11:12 PM Anonymous Says:

Now if only they can find a way to make it easier to obtain gittin, they will have resolved one of the biggest social problems. Kol hakovod to shelly silver, a really ehrleche yid, for taking the lead on such a critical domestic issue.

2

 Jul 02, 2010 at 12:12 AM Anonymous Says:

"Besides the no-fault and alimony components, the three-part legislative package also calls for the “monied” spouse in a couple with “greatly unequal financial resources” to pay lawyer fees of the other spouse in a divorce proceeding — a move intended to level the legal playing field between a divorcing husband and wife."

the above sounds like a ridiculous law, but they passed it anyhow, is this even constitutional?

3

 Jul 02, 2010 at 12:44 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Now if only they can find a way to make it easier to obtain gittin, they will have resolved one of the biggest social problems. Kol hakovod to shelly silver, a really ehrleche yid, for taking the lead on such a critical domestic issue.

Silver is the sole reason NY State is in the sad shape it is today. He should've been voted out of office years ago. He's a power hungry maniac who couldn't care less about what's good for NY - its what good for ME! Never a compromise from him. Its his way or no way. And that's why the legislature is in such bad shape that it is an embarrassment. I once heard a reporter ask why he voted against a certain bill. His answer was "because the Republicans voted for it." That's an answer? At least explain what you didn't like about the bill, maybe?

4

 Jul 02, 2010 at 01:21 AM Meir Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Now if only they can find a way to make it easier to obtain gittin, they will have resolved one of the biggest social problems. Kol hakovod to shelly silver, a really ehrleche yid, for taking the lead on such a critical domestic issue.

Perhaps more care should be taken before prior to getting married and the couples should be older and more mature and there would be fewer divorces, perhaps also date longer before getting engaged too

5

 Jul 02, 2010 at 07:25 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Now if only they can find a way to make it easier to obtain gittin, they will have resolved one of the biggest social problems. Kol hakovod to shelly silver, a really ehrleche yid, for taking the lead on such a critical domestic issue.

I agree. If only the court could include a madatory giving of a Get no matter who initiates the divorce proceedings first. that will be the real victory

6

 Jul 02, 2010 at 08:00 AM Anonymous Says:

How about initiating some premarital counseling and requirements of during marriage counseling. Seems that distractions and selfishness is the norn in today's ever-changing times.

7

 Jul 02, 2010 at 09:15 AM Meir Says:

How about more care before getting married and getting married at a more mature age?

8

 Jul 02, 2010 at 09:53 AM Anonymous Says:

This is a great acccomplishment. It has helped in other places keep people at the table. If there is no fault, division of assets are simply divided in half and there's less of an incentive to find fault where there is one "victim". It usually takes two to ruin a marriage. The quicker everyone owns up to their role in the marriage, the less divorce there will be. This, of course, bars the exception of physical/mental abuse.

9

 Jul 02, 2010 at 10:00 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Meir Says:

Perhaps more care should be taken before prior to getting married and the couples should be older and more mature and there would be fewer divorces, perhaps also date longer before getting engaged too

I agree couples should be older, more mature and date longer. There should also be premarital counselling required by frum professionals. Most frum young people today have no guidelines for marriage except a few general pointers from family and an outsiders view of their friends' marriages.

10

 Jul 02, 2010 at 10:10 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

"Besides the no-fault and alimony components, the three-part legislative package also calls for the “monied” spouse in a couple with “greatly unequal financial resources” to pay lawyer fees of the other spouse in a divorce proceeding — a move intended to level the legal playing field between a divorcing husband and wife."

the above sounds like a ridiculous law, but they passed it anyhow, is this even constitutional?

Why wouldn't it be, while married isn't the money a couple has supposed to be considered community property? All of a sudden there's a split up and one party ends up barely able to survive? Let them at least end the marriage with financial equality. Whatever happens after that isn't the other's business.

11

 Jul 02, 2010 at 10:19 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

I agree. If only the court could include a madatory giving of a Get no matter who initiates the divorce proceedings first. that will be the real victory

Right and throw halacha straight out the window,who cares anyway,the world is changed maybe halcha should too?!

14

 Jul 02, 2010 at 10:36 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #5  
Anonymous Says:

I agree. If only the court could include a madatory giving of a Get no matter who initiates the divorce proceedings first. that will be the real victory

right so u would like to take well established halacha and throw it out the window,time changes,ppl change, and u would like to change our torah too?!this law might be right or might be wrong but u sound beyond stupid.....just showing how dumb ppl could be when their so tied up in their hatred for s/o else.think about what u said!have the goyim hand out a jewish divorce..... u should be ashamed of urself u have no zero pride as a jew!

15

 Jul 02, 2010 at 10:36 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

I agree couples should be older, more mature and date longer. There should also be premarital counselling required by frum professionals. Most frum young people today have no guidelines for marriage except a few general pointers from family and an outsiders view of their friends' marriages.

This law wasn't passed for chassidim who don't date and get married young btw the divorce rate among ppl who date forever and get married when they are older and supposedly more mature is not lower

16

 Jul 02, 2010 at 11:59 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

I agree couples should be older, more mature and date longer. There should also be premarital counselling required by frum professionals. Most frum young people today have no guidelines for marriage except a few general pointers from family and an outsiders view of their friends' marriages.

This law wasn't passed for chassidim who don't date and get married young btw the divorce rate among ppl who date forever and get married when they are older and supposedly more mature is not lower

17

 Jul 02, 2010 at 04:25 PM Shmuel Says:

Reply to #4  
Meir Says:

Perhaps more care should be taken before prior to getting married and the couples should be older and more mature and there would be fewer divorces, perhaps also date longer before getting engaged too

Why stop there, Meir? They should live together for a significant period of time in a 'trial marriage' to decide whether they should enter into a real one.

18

 Jul 02, 2010 at 06:19 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

I agree couples should be older, more mature and date longer. There should also be premarital counselling required by frum professionals. Most frum young people today have no guidelines for marriage except a few general pointers from family and an outsiders view of their friends' marriages.

This law wasn't passed for chassidim who don't date and get married young btw the divorce rate among ppl who date forever and get married when they are older and supposedly more mature is not lower

19

 Jul 03, 2010 at 11:10 PM Anonymous Says:

there are rabbonim out there who will allow a man to remarry with kidushin even though he is still civilly married. Explain that.

20

 Jul 03, 2010 at 11:18 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #19  
Anonymous Says:

there are rabbonim out there who will allow a man to remarry with kidushin even though he is still civilly married. Explain that.

Simple. The halachic divorce is the get. She is no longer an eishes ish, and may remarry according to halacha. The civil divorce is a process that shleps, even with all sides agreeing to everything. Why should anyone sit and wait for that process if halacha permits them to remarry? The bigamy issue is a law that has not been enforced for many decades, and it relates to the "legal" remarriage. Generally speaking, that occurs when two different states are involved, as the second marriage would be filed without anyone knowing that there is still a valid marriage in another state.

21

 Jul 04, 2010 at 08:00 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #20  
Anonymous Says:

Simple. The halachic divorce is the get. She is no longer an eishes ish, and may remarry according to halacha. The civil divorce is a process that shleps, even with all sides agreeing to everything. Why should anyone sit and wait for that process if halacha permits them to remarry? The bigamy issue is a law that has not been enforced for many decades, and it relates to the "legal" remarriage. Generally speaking, that occurs when two different states are involved, as the second marriage would be filed without anyone knowing that there is still a valid marriage in another state.

Of course the halachic divorce is the get, however, acccording to the law of the land, you are only permitted to be married to one spouse at a time.

22

 Jul 05, 2010 at 03:32 AM Shmuel Says:

Reply to #21  
Anonymous Says:

Of course the halachic divorce is the get, however, acccording to the law of the land, you are only permitted to be married to one spouse at a time.

Maybe, but according to the same 'law of the land', as you refer to it, people remarried with kiddushin only and not in a civil mariage, are not married at all, so no 'law of the land' is being violated here.

23

 Jul 05, 2010 at 10:49 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #22  
Shmuel Says:

Maybe, but according to the same 'law of the land', as you refer to it, people remarried with kiddushin only and not in a civil mariage, are not married at all, so no 'law of the land' is being violated here.

you are so wrong about that, according to NYC Dometic Law, a marriage that was officiated by a minister of religion is a valid marriage. Check out Pershad v. Balram

24

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