Ever since New York adopted what is commonly called “no fault or uncontested divorce”, ordinary citizens seem to be swimming in a sea of confusion. New Yorkers began to see signs on offices stating, “Cheap divorce, spouses signature not needed.” Some non-lawyers advertise divorce for as low as $399.00, but these practices do nothing more than add confusion to an already confused public.
No- fault or uncontested divorce came about as a result of the wisdom of the New York legislature in recognizing that in many cases married couples own no joint property and wish to go their separate ways without making demands on each other for alimony or property rights. Prior rules of law made it expensive, time consuming and unnecessarily complicated to get divorced.
The new no-fault or uncontested divorce law makes it much easier to get divorced. Essentially, what the parties must show is that the marriage has been broken to the extent that there is no chance that the relationship can be rekindled. There is no need to show any fault, or that any particular spouse was responsible for the breakdown of the relationship. Provided that the breakdown has gone past six months, any spouse can file a petition for divorce. If the court is satisfied that the parties have settled all ancillary issues such as property rights and child support, the divorce will be granted.
Spouse’s signature not needed?
The notion that your spouse’s signature is not needed is perhaps the most misleading assertion that advertisers make. In all divorce cases, the court must have jurisdiction to enter a judgment of divorce. The defendant’s actual signature may be the best evidence of the court’s jurisdiction.
Failure to obtain jurisdiction over the defendant spouse, gives that defendant a right to an action declaring the purported divorce void. One can only imagine getting married later to a spouse who dies leaving a wealthy legacy to the one who survives, only to find out that the prior marriage is still valid and that the later attempted marriage is void. Is a cheap divorce really worth the risk? Individuals who are serious about their rights should take matters seriously. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
By: Wayne Benjamin Marsh, Esq. (Brooklyn NY)
Disclaimer: The information above may be considered attorney advertising and is not intended as legal advice. For legal advice, please call Wayne B. Marsh Law.