No-Fault Divorce Finally Arrives in New York

August 16, 2010

On Sunday, August 15, 2010, Governor Patterson made no-fault divorce a legal option in New York. The antiquated divorce system, which required proof of fault, enabled any defendant in a divorce action to delay and, in certain instances, block the divorce process by seizing upon grounds as a defense. No longer will a party seeking a divorce in New York face the prospect of a jury of strangers or a judge determining whether he or she has the right to end the marriage. Nor will an unhappy spouse have to “buy” a divorce by paying extra to the recalcitrant spouse in a settlement agreement. Under the new legislation, which will take effect on October 14, 2010, the courts are mandated to grant the divorce where either spouse states under oath that the marital relationship has broken down irretrievably for at least six months. All child custody and financial issues relating to the marriage must be resolved or determined by the court before a judgment of divorce can be granted. The Governor also signed into law yesterday new provisions providing for guidelines for the amount of temporary spousal support and the swifter provision of interim counsel fees to the non-monied spouse where appropriate.

Arlene G. Dubin, partner and co-chair of Moses & Singer's Matrimonial and Family Law Group, literally “wrote the book” on marital agreements (See Prenups for Lovers: A Romantic Guide to Prenuptial Agreements,  She is nationally recognized for prenuptial, postnuptial, cohabitation, paternity/parenting and separation/divorce settlement agreements.  A member of the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals, Arlene has appeared on many national TV and radio shows and has been quoted in numerous national publications.  Her practice encompasses all aspects of matrimonial and family law, including financial and tax issues, equitable distribution, spousal and child support, child custody and access, estate planning and issues relating to unmarried couples.  For more information, please contact Arlene at 212.554.7651 or at

Marguerite E. "Lily" Royer is a partner and co-chair of Moses & Singer's Matrimonial and Family Law Group .  She has over twenty nine years of experience practicing matrimonial and family law, and has extensive experience as a matrimonial litigator. She handles all matters relating to divorce, separation and annulment; modification, equitable distribution, and spousal support; same-sex relationships and intimate partners; paternity, reproductive rights, post-judgment enforcement, and relocation proceedings. Lily is registered with the U.S. Department of State’s Attorney Network to counsel on matters involving The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction. The Convention is an International Treaty that provides a procedure for the prompt return of children who have been "wrongfully removed" or "retained outside" their country of "habitual residence." She is a Martindale AV® rated attorney and received the distinction of being listed in Law & PoliticsNew York Super Lawyers® for the past three years.  For more information, please contact Lily at 212.554.7860 or .

Moses & Singer is one of the few full-service law firms in New York with attorneys dedicated to all aspects of family law, including negotiating and drafting marital agreements and litigating complex divorce and custody disputes. In addition, attorneys in the Matrimonial and Family Law Group litigate both domestic custody matters and international child custody cases involving the Hague Convention and divorce cases involving both US and non-US nationals.