As I have recently been commenting on my blog, New York state’s divorce law has recently come under attack by a New York Times editorial for not permitting no fault divorces.
It is important to note that New York has its own version of “no fault” divorce. Surprisingly, the New York Times editorial left this important information out. Obviously the story was written by a reporter and not a lawyer. I still do agree with the Times’ assessment that New York divorce law is antiquated and needs prompt revision.
A “no-fault” divorce simply means that you will not have to give the court with a legal justification for your divorce, such as adultery, abandonment or the like. In the following limited situation, New York state law allows for its own version of “no fault” divorce.
- you and your spouse live apart from one another for at least a year before a divorce can be filed
- you and your spouse must execute a Separation Agreement, which must be filed with the local County Clerk before the stopwatch on the one-year period begins to tick
- you (the spouse suing for divorce) must prove that you have substantially performed the terms of the Separation Agreement to obtain a divorce
- if you obtain a divorce based on a written Separation Agreement, you won’t have to sign any documents or give any testimony about reasons for the divorce (in other words, you won’t have to make any personal allegations against your spouse, or vice versa).
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