On August 15, 2010, Governor Patterson signed a law, which will allow for no-fault divorce. This means that a person can get divorced without having to prove grounds, which is a reason for the divorce. After signing the bill, the governor stated, “[f]inally, New York has brought its divorce laws into the 21st century.” This will make getting divorced far easier.
The law states that a party is entitled to a divorce if his/her marriage has broken down irretrievably for a period of six months. “Broken down irretrievably” just means that the marriage is dead. The law states that a party is entitled to a divorce if his/her marriage has broken down irretrievably for a period of six months.
However, the law is not clear as to what a person has to do to prove his/her marriage has broken down irretrievably. Under the new law all a person has to do to get a divorce is sign a sworn statement stating that his/her marriage is irretrievably broken.
A Judge in Ulster County recently held that a party need not prove an irretrievably breakdown at trial. In other words, he seemed to indicate that signing a sworn statement is enough to get a divorce.
New York is the last state to enact no-fault divorce, which gives spouses the option of obtaining a no-fault divorce on a unilateral basis. No-fault divorce is the mechanism by which one spouse can terminate a marriage citing only irreconcilable differences. In other words, a spouse seeking a divorce in a unilateral no-fault state need not prove that the other spouse did anything wrong.
The move toward no-fault divorce – the liberalization of divorce laws – began in California in 1969 when then Gov. Ronald Reagan, himself a divorce man, signed what is considered the first no-fault law. Within the decade, almost all the jurisdictions had enacted some form of no-fault divorce.