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New York Divorce LawThe world is constantly changing and so is the divorce world. New York, for instance, finally joined the ranks of states with no-fault divorce laws in 2010. Previously, New York’s divorce law provided couples seeking divorce with wiggle room when it came to filing for divorce under one of the grounds of divorce. Up until 2010, couples attempting to divorce unscathed by the courts in New York had to resort to a separation agreement. The separation agreement was used, however, by many states as an alternative to no-fault divorces. If this information makes you feel like the ground you walk on is no longer safe, or like you can no longer trust anyone, first: take a deep breath. Let’s discuss the other changes in the New York divorce law to settle your nerves.


No-Fault Divorce

In 2010, New York officially became a no-fault divorce state by including a clause stating a married couple can obtain a divorce on the grounds that “the relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six (6) months.”However, in order to obtain a no-fault divorce in New York, both spouses must agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and has been for 6 months.

Don’t think that all the laws have changed, though. For both no-fault and fault-based New York divorces, the required two year residency period before filing for divorce still must be met, unless both spouses were residents of New York or the grounds for divorce arose in New York.

Maintenance (a.k.a. Alimony)

In addition to no-fault divorce being made available to New Yorkers, there have been a few amendments to the factors a judge will take in to consideration when awarding spousal maintenance, also known as alimony and spousal support.

In addition to the former factors contributing to the decided maintenance, a spouse may be awarded more or less money in spousal support depending on:

  • The need of one party to incur education or training expenses.
  •  The existence and duration of a pre-marital joint household or a pre-divorce separate household.
  • Acts by one party against another that may have inhibited or continue to inhibit a party’s earning or capacity or ability to obtain meaningful employment. Such acts include but are not limited to, acts of domestic violence as provided in section 459a of the social service law.
  • The care of the children or stepchild, disable adult children or stepchildren, elderly parents or in-laws that has inhibited or continues to inhibit a party’s earning capacity.
  •  The inability of one party to obtain meaningful employment due to age or absence from the workforce.
  •  The need to pay for exceptional additional expenses for the child/children, including but not limited to schooling, day care, and medical expenses.
  • The equitable distribution of marital property.
  •  The loss of health insurance benefits upon dissolution of marriage, and the availability and cost of medical insurance for the parties.

The world is ever-changing, but this should not shake someone to their very soul. Change is good. Change can bring the most amazing possibilities to a person, no matter how devastating the change seems to be. Divorce is no different, so we’re here to help you find the endless possibilities your new life has in store for you.

For a much more precise and in-depth look, please visit our New York divorce laws page.


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