2006-02-17 / Community

Smith Pushes No-Fault Divorce Laws

Stating that, “New York remains in the dark ages when it comes to divorce law,” State Senator Malcolm A. Smith recently called on the Senate to pass legislation he is sponsoring that authorizes no-fault divorces in the State.

“New York currently allows divorce on four grounds: cruel and inhumane treatment, adultery, abandonment and imprisonment for at least three years. In any of these cases, one of the parties has to found at fault. Too often the result is lengthy, expensive and bitter fights in court,” Senator Smith said.

The Matrimonial Commission, appointed by New York’s Chief Justice Judith S. Kaye, called for the authorization of no-fault divorce in a report released in early February. Justice Kaye said enacting the report’s recommendation would be one of her top priorities this year.

“Divorces in New York do not need to aggressively set adults against one another. If the couple seeking a divorce has children, it gets even more complicated. Simply put, we have misplaced priorities in this State when it comes to divorce. We place an exorbitant burden on one party to prove fault, and children end up being seriously effected,” Senator Smith said.

In addition to the reduced stress in the family unit, Senator Smith said research has shown that ten years after the enactment of no-fault divorce laws, divorce rates were no higher than before.

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