Divorce Based Upon Separation to Be Reduced to 3 Months

Legislation to shorten the one year separation grounds for divorce to three months was approved by the Judiciary Committee of the New York State Assembly last week.

The current law requires parties to leave separate and apart pursuant to a written agreement for one year in order in order to state a grounds for divorce.   The new law would shorten this period to three months.

Critics have aptly pointed out that this is not a “no-fault” divorce, in which the parties would only need allege that the marriage has irretrievably broken down with no prospect of reconciliation.   Instead this proposal requires that the parties enter into a written agreement which resolves all the issues of the divorce including equitable distribution, child custody and support.

This bill is not, however, a substitute for no-fault divorce.   A no-fault divorce is needed for those cases in which there is an absence of marital fault (e.g., no one is guilty of adultery, abandonment or cruel and inhuman treatment), and the other issues of divorce (equitable distribution, child custody, etc) require a judicial determination.

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