In 2010, New York joined every other state in the United States by enacting a no-fault basis for divorce. New York's No Fault Divorce Statute permits any individual wanting a divorce to obtain a divorce judgment by alleging a breakdown of the marriage
. The statute describing the new "no-fault" ground for divorce (codified at New York Domestic Relations Law, Section 170(7) permits anyone to allege in their divorce complaint that "The relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months
Beyond the requirement that the plaintiff-spouse allege that there has been an irretrievable breakdown, New York's no fault divorce statute, DRL 170(7), requires that all ancillary issues relating to finances and children be resolved prior to the issuance of a divorce judgment. This can occur through the parties' agreement (via stipulation of settlement or separation agreement) or by the Court's hearing and adjudication of financial issues. If the parties agree, their case is considered "uncontested", and divorce judgment is usually granted "on the papers" without testimony in court. An uncontested divorce case is, for obvious reasons, much quicker and less expensive than contested divorce proceedings.
If the parties have resolved all ancillary issues (including spousal support, child support, counsel fees, and custody) through their own agreement, the plaintiff may request that a divorce be granted based solely on the papers.
If the parties have entered into an agreement resolving ancillary issues, their subsequent disputes (for example, allegations of noncompliance with the agreement) do not affect the ability of the court to enter a judgment of divorce based on DRL 170(7). Last week, our firm obtained an order by the Supreme Court in New York County in which the Court specifically ruled that post-agreement disputes do not bar the granting of a judgment of divorce pursuant to DRL 170(7). The Court ruled that our client was entitled to summary judgment for divorce, and referred the parties' post-agreement disputes to the Family Court for resolution.
If you and your spouse wish to obtain a no fault divorce in New York, and are in agreement upon all ancillary issues, our firm offers an expedited New York divorce service
. We handle no fault divorce cases on flat fee basis, with same-day filing of the divorce complaint in New York County Supreme Court.