No Right to No Fault Trial; New York Appellate Court Rules

The Appellate Division has unanimously affirmed a trial court decision, which held that there is no right to litigate the allegation that a marriage has irretrievably broken down under New York’s no-fault divorce law.

Under New York’s no fault divorce law, DRL 170(7), a divorce will be granted where:

The relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months, provided that one party has so stated under oath.

In an exhaustive review of the history of New York’s no fault divorce laws, the trial court concluded:

Under DRL § 170(7), the grounds cannot be disputed. Either a party swears the marriage is irretrievably broken or they do not. The grounds are established by the oath; there is no legislative requirement of a judicial finding on the reliability or veracity of the oath.

This decision is the latest, and the first by a New York appellate court, declaring that there is no right to a trial under New York’s no fault divorce law. According to the decision, the allegation in the complaint that the marriage has irretrievably broken down is sufficient to make out the case.  I would suspect that we have seen the last of grounds trials in divorces in New York.



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