As reported in Bloomberg.com, the Governor of New York, David Paterson, signed into law the no fault divorce in New York yesterday. Previously, parties had to point fingers at the other side alleging cruelty, adultery or abandonment to get a divorce.
The change goes into effect in 60 days and will govern the divorces filed then or later. Current divorce actions will go forward with the existing law. New York has a history of lagging behind other states in allowing divorces. From 1787 to a reform bill of 1966, the only ground was adultery. Under a more recent reform, a couple could get an uncontested divorce after living apart for a year and agreeing to settlement terms. That option wasn’t open to everyone, because many couples agree only that the marriage is over, not on what happens to children and assets.
Of 56,937 divorce filings in New York State last year, 43,724 were uncontested and 13,213, or 23 percent, were contested, according to state court system data.
While this change will probably make a financial impact on attorneys in New York as the need for trials will diminish, those that want to fight will continue to do so, which will keep the attorneys employed.
In California, even with no fault divorce, there are still plenty of attorneys who are kept busy with hearings and trials for custody, visitation and the division of assets and debts.