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Governor Patterson Signs New York's No-Fault Divorce Law

On August 15, 2010, Governor Patterson signed into law, New York's No-Fault Divorce Law ending New York's reign as the only state to require a party to demonstrate "fault" to obtain a divorce. Some of the key changes in New York matrimonial law include:

  • No-Fault Divorce. If either party alleges an "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage" for six or more months, the divorce will be granted provided financial issues such as equitable distribution of marital property, spousal support, child support and payment of counsel fees have been resolved.
  • Divorce and Temporary Support. The new law also enacts a formula to arrive at temporary support during the pendency of the divorce action to ensure that the spouse with fewer resources has support while the divorce action is proceeding.
  • Divorce and Legal Fees. Another section of the new law strengthens the award of legal fees to the spouse with fewer resources during the action, to insure that one party is not given an advantage because of his or her financial resources.

The new law becomes effective in sixty days. Stay tuned for further developments.

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