New York hasn't always been a no-fault state when it comes to divorce.
As a matter of fact, New York only gave couples the right to file a no-fault
divorce in 2010. Prior to that, you had to have grounds to obtain a divorce.
That required proof and a trial. Now, couples only have to show an "irretrievable
breakdown" in the marriage. This is supposed to make it easier for
couples to obtain a
divorce and possibly avoid having to go to trial.
The thought of not having to go to trial was appealing to one man who initially
filed for divorce in 2009 based on claims of abandonment. This was before
New York became a no-fault state. When New York became a no-fault state,
while his original divorce proceeding was still pending, the man filed
a no-fault divorce claim under a separate action.
His estranged wife sought dismissal of the no-fault complaint on the grounds
that she would have to defend against both cases. While the lower court
ruled in her favor, the appeals court recently ruled against her.
The court determined that a no-fault divorce is designed to allow couples
to avoid having to litigate grounds for divorce. And, on that basis, the
judges ruled that the husband had the right to file the second no-fault
case. They did not go so far as to combine the two cases, although they
indicated that the lower court could do that.
Filing for divorce always comes with complications and couples typically
benefit from understanding the relevant laws and procedures. Being able
to file a no-fault divorce may eliminate at least some of the stress that
some couples face when ending their marriage. It may also allow couples
and New York courts to focus more on issues such as property division,
resolution and child custody, instead of hashing out who did what to whom.
Source: Thomson Reuters News & Insight, "Man wins bid to seek no-fault divorce after filing on fault grounds," Dan Weissner, July 12, 2012