The dissolution of a marriage is never a pleasant undertaking, regardless of the circumstances. Even the most amicable divorce proceedings often manifest disagreements pertaining to aspects of the separation, such as property division, potential spousal support, child support and child custody. Any divorce lawyer can tell you that it's a stressful process that can turn ugly under the wrong circumstances, leading to further rifts and legal complications for the parties involved.
That said, not all divorces necessarily need to be adversarial. Depending on your circumstances, a "no-fault" divorce might be the best route for ending your marriage. No-fault divorces tend to rely on skillful negotiation and a proactive divorce attorney to protect your best interests. A "no-fault divorce," as opposed to a fault-based divorce, means neither spouse has to prove "grounds" for the dissolution of the marriage. This allows couples whose marriages have taken a turn for the worse to end their association without legal accusations of misconduct.
Here we'll look at the definition of no-fault divorces and what they mean for couples seeking to dissolve their marriages in New York State, as well as discuss the benefits of such a divorce over the formerly required "fault" based proceedings. If you're considering filing for a no-fault divorce in New York and require the services of a Suffolk County divorce attorney to represent your interests, contact MONTEFUSCO | PAMMER for a consultation today.
Fault vs No Fault Divorce
Since divorces in the United States are governed by laws at the state level, the rules and requirements for initiating and executing divorce proceedings vary significantly based on where you live.
Until October of 2010, all divorces filed in New York State were required to be based upon specific grounds, such as abandonment, adultery, imprisonment, conversion, or cruel treatment; should the divorce proceedings have gone to trial, the accusing party and their legal team would have borne the burden of proving the accusations of fault and clearly establishing grounds for divorce.
These old divorce requirements sometimes required a private investigator to be hired to gather proof of an unfaithful spouse's cheating. Before no-fault divorce, such proof was not only beneficial to the filing party's case, but required by law in order to carry on with proceedings. Someone had to be at "fault" for the divorce to be granted.
However, fault-based grounds are still available to divorcing parties, although no fault divorce has become the more common practice over the years, since proving grounds or fault can also prolong an already painful process and often lead to bitter court battles, which are difficult for all involved.
As of October 2010, a new no fault divorce law came into effect for New York State residents. These new rules allow for divorce if one spouse states that the marriage relationship has irretrievably broken for at least six months.
In a no fault divorce, the filing spouse need not prove any fault or misconduct on the part of the other party; they can simply state that the marriage has "irretrievably broken down for a period of at least six months" and choose to end the marriage.
The Benefits of No Fault Divorce
While a failed marriage is a sad milestone, the establishment of no fault divorce in NY is the simplest way for couples to dissolve their marriage ties. Sometimes, people just don't get along anymore, differences arise, communication can break down, and the marriage eventually is irretrievably broken without any of the misconduct formerly required as grounds for divorce in New York. No fault divorce law takes this into account and allows people to start divorce proceedings without the accusation of wrongdoing.
No fault divorces are generally preferable for many reasons. Since it is not required for one party to be at fault, there is no motivation for spouses to manufacture or fabricate evidence against each other, as there often is with fault-based divorces. The nature of a no fault divorce allows spouses to end their marriage because of their simple incompatibility, and for the marriage to be dissolved in a more honest fashion, saving everyone further time, money, and pain.
In addition, even if grounds for fault such as adultery or cruelty did occur, a no fault divorce allows the involved parties to avoid airing their "dirty laundry" in court, maintaining an element of familial privacy and decorum which was often not possible with New York State's previous divorce requirements.
Typically, less time is spent on accusations and the need to emphasize assigning blame to the other spouse isn't as necessary. This keeps the involved parties focused on moving forward and removes the need for the added stress and emotional turmoil of a fault-based divorce.
With no fault, one partner can choose to end the marriage without having to legally prove that the other party is at fault. This evens out the dynamic and allows the initiation of divorce proceedings with the reasonable guarantee of being granted a divorce and fair dispensation of marital property by settlement amongst the parties or through litigation in court.
Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer?
Do you need a lawyer for divorce? The answer is yes, even if your divorce is no fault and straightforward, dissolving a legal union can be tricky, as why having a skilled, experienced Long Island divorce lawyers like MONTEFUSCO | PAMMER in your corner is still an absolute necessity in order to make sure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
If there were an ideal divorce scenario, both spouses and their attorneys are able to reach an out of court settlement by way of written divorce agreements; these include the mutually agreed upon resolution of any outstanding issues of the marriage, including child custody, spousal maintenance or support, child support, and asset distribution to avoid a lengthy and cutthroat courtroom battle.
That said, many no fault divorces still require a trial in order to resolve differences and reach a fair distribution of property and funds. MONTEFUSCO | PAMMER is proactive in reaching a resolution between spouses and will aggressively pursue your interests in divorce court. In this situation, you must make sure your interests are represented by a Suffolk County divorce attorney with the ability to fight for your rights and fair treatment in a court of law. Having a New York divorce law attorney from The Law Office of Robert H. Montefusco, P.C. on your side during your divorce proceedings is the best way to guarantee that your rights will be protected, and will go a long way toward creating peace of mind.
If you're considering divorce, have been served with divorce papers, or have questions about the difference between "fault" and "no fault" divorce proceedings in New York, contact us for a free initial consultation.
Blog Author: Attorney Robert H. Montefusco
Robert H. Montefusco is the founder of the Law Office of MONTEFUSCO | PAMMER and is here to help you get through your family law case.
Visit his bio to learn more about he compassionately helps clients navigate the divorce process.
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