Provides that spouses may be granted a judgment of divorce in a timely fashion provided they meet certain conditions.
BILL NUMBER: S3890
TITLE OF BILL : An act to amend the domestic relations law, in relation to no fault divorce
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF THE BILL : This bill would allow a judgment of divorce to be granted to either a husband or a wife without assigning fault to either of the parties. However, a divorce could only be granted after the major ancillary issues have been resolved.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS : Section 1. Section 170 of the Domestic Relations Law is amended by adding subdivision 7 allowing divorce when a marriage is irretrievably broken for a period of at least six months, provided that one party has so stated under oath.
This judgment can only be granted after the following ancillary issues have been resolved: the equitable distribution of marital property, the payment or waiver of spousal support, the payment of child support, the payment of counsel and expert fees and expenses, and custody and visitation with the infant children of the marriage.
A judgment of divorce under this subdivision could not be issued until all these issues are resolved, unless there are exigent circumstances placed on the record by the court.
Section 2 Section two establishes that this act shall take effect immediately.
JUSTIFICATION : New York is the only state that does not have a no-fault divorce provision.
Currently, a divorce can only be procured by alleging fault such as cruel and inhuman treatment, adultery, abandonment or confinement of the defendant in prison (in addition to the parties living apart pursuant to a separation agreement or judicial decree for more than one year). Yet many people divorce for valid reasons that do not fall under these classifications. They are forced to invent false justifications to legally dissolve their marriages. False accusations and the necessity to hold one partner at fault often result in conflict within the family. The conflict is harmful to the partners and destructive to the emotional well being of children. Prolonging the divorce process adds additional stress to an already difficult situation.
A study cited at the 2007 Forum on the Need for No-Fault Divorce presented by the NYS Office of Court Administration's Office of Matrimonial and Family Law Study and Reform showed a large decline in domestic violence in states with no-fault divorce. The 37 states studied that have adopted no-fault divorce statutes have seen female suicide rates decline approximately 20% while reports of domestic violence committed by husbands against wives were reduced by more than one-third.
This legislation enables parties to legally end a marriage which is, in reality, already over and cannot be salvaged. Its intent is to lessen the disputes that often arise between the parties and to mitigate the potential harm to them and their children caused by the current process. Because a resolution of all the major issues must be reached before a divorce judgment is granted, this legislation safeguards the parties' rights and economic interests.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY : A9398A of 2007-2008.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS : None.
EFFECTIVE DATE : This act shall take effect immediately.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 3890 2009-2010 Regular Sessions IN SENATE April 2, 2009 ___________Introduced by Sen. HASSELL-THOMPSON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary AN ACT to amend the domestic relations law, in relation to no fault divorce THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 170 of the domestic relations law is amended by adding a new subdivision 7 to read as follows: (7) THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HUSBAND AND WIFE HAS BROKEN DOWN IRRE- TRIEVABLY FOR A PERIOD OF AT LEAST SIX MONTHS, PROVIDED THAT ONE PARTY HAS SO STATED UNDER OATH. EXCEPT UNDER EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES PLACED ON THE RECORD BY THE COURT, NO JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE SHALL BE GRANTED UNDER THIS SUBDIVISION UNLESS AND UNTIL THE ECONOMIC ISSUES OF EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF MARITAL PROPERTY, THE PAYMENT OR WAIVER OF SPOUSAL SUPPORT, THE PAYMENT OF CHILD SUPPORT, THE PAYMENT OF COUNSEL AND EXPERTS' FEES AND EXPENSES AS WELL AS THE CUSTODY AND VISITATION WITH THE INFANT CHILDREN OF THE MARRIAGE HAVE BEEN RESOLVED BY THE PARTIES, OR DETERMINED BY THE COURT AND INCORPORATED INTO THE JUDGMENT OF DIVORCE. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD03530-01-9