Court Finds No Defense to New York’s No-Fault Divorce Statute

A Husband’s claim that New York’s “no-fault” divorce statute violates his constitutional rights has been rejected in the March 28, 2011 decision of A.C. v. D.R. The statute, DRL §170(7), permits a party to obtain a divorce by swearing under oath that the marital relationship has been irretrievably broken for a period of at least six months. There would seem to be no defenses to such allegations. Yet, the Husband in the Nassau County matter claimed that because he wanted to stay married, the statute violated his constitutional rights to due process.

Justice Anthony J. Falanga rejected this claim and held that “staying married, against the wishes of the other adult who states under oath that the marriage is irretrievably broken, is not a vested right.” The Court further held that a party’s “self-serving declaration about his or her state of mind is all that is required for the dissolution of a marriage on grounds that it is irretrievably broken.”

This case will undoubtedly bring large sighs of relief to other parties facing challenges to their right to a no-fault divorce.