New York Moves Closer to No-Fault Divorce

nbcnewyork.com/news/local-beat/State-Senate-Passes-No-fault-Divorce-Law-96486044.html

The New York State Catholic Conference, which represents New York State’s bishops in matter of public policy, released a statement noting, “Increasingly, society has come to view marriage as disposable and temporary. We urge the state Assembly to reject this proposal and, failing that, we call on Gov. Paterson to veto it.”

I am having a hard time agreeing with the bishops on this matter. No-Fault divorce is a great asset for women in abusive relationships who need out for their own safety. Assigning fault in a divorce makes it possible for the abusive spouses to stop the divorce process and keep the victim in the relationship for longer. It also makes the divorce process easiest for couples who get along well, making it possible for them to simply assign fault to one party in order to get out of the marriage. Couples who don't get along, on the other hand, will have long drawn-out divorces that will simply make their already fragile relationship even worse. What does everyone else think?

The problem is that divorce, whether by traditional fault-based proceedings or by "no-fault" legislation, is generally accepted as routine by too many citizens. The Church has not helped the situation by issuing so many annulments either. The fact is that in the US now divorce/dissolution coupled with an annulment that used to be hard (and I mean hard) to get is easy. Who ever hears of a court denying either a divorce or dissolution or the Church denying an annulment now? I don't think what New York does on this will make any difference.

The court shouldn't even play a role in marriage. It should be strictly issued through churches, if that is what floats the couple's boat.

[quote="OriginalJS, post:2, topic:202353"]
The problem is that divorce, whether by traditional fault-based proceedings or by "no-fault" legislation, is generally accepted as routine by too many citizens. The Church has not helped the situation by issuing so many annulments either. The fact is that in the US now divorce/dissolution coupled with an annulment that used to be hard (and I mean hard) to get is easy. Who ever hears of a court denying either a divorce or dissolution or the Church denying an annulment now? I don't think what New York does on this will make any difference.

[/quote]

That is a good point. It is hard to see why we should make divorce harder to get when annulments are granted with such ease. What is the point in making someone suffer trying to save a marriage that doesn't even exist except on paper?

OP you mentioned no-fault divorce helping out people in abusive relationships but this is not the case. Even in no fault divorce there still has to be a settlement on the assets which can delay the divorce a long time. I have a cousin trying to get out of an abusive marriage and the divorce has been in court for over 2 years (in a no-fault state), because the man gets all his insurance paid for by her, including deducables and co-pays, so he purposefully delays the proceedings in order to hurt and control her and because he benefits from the "marriage." (they also jointly own property/farm and it probably/should be sold and the proceeds split, but he doesn't want to lose the farm).

[quote="KostyaJMJ, post:1, topic:202353"]
nbcnewyork.com/news/local-beat/State-Senate-Passes-No-fault-Divorce-Law-96486044.html

I am having a hard time agreeing with the bishops on this matter. No-Fault divorce is a great asset for women in abusive relationships who need out for their own safety. Assigning fault in a divorce makes it possible for the abusive spouses to stop the divorce process and keep the victim in the relationship for longer. It also makes the divorce process easiest for couples who get along well, making it possible for them to simply assign fault to one party in order to get out of the marriage. Couples who don't get along, on the other hand, will have long drawn-out divorces that will simply make their already fragile relationship even worse. What does everyone else think?

[/quote]

I'm not sure I understand. An abused woman would claim "cruel and inhuman treatment." How would the abuser stop the divorce process?

[quote="OriginalJS, post:2, topic:202353"]
The Church has not helped the situation by issuing so many annulments either. The fact is that in the US now divorce/dissolution coupled with an annulment that used to be hard (and I mean hard) to get is easy. Who ever hears of a court denying either a divorce or dissolution or the Church denying an annulment now? I don't think what New York does on this will make any difference.

[/quote]

I agree with Kostya - you make a good point.

If marriage is simply a legal contract, then it should be as simple to dissolve as it is to enter.

But if marriage is more than a legal contract, if it is a sacrament, then it should be much more difficult to end. My first surprise after completing RCIA in 1980 was how few Catholics believed what the Church taught. My second surprise was the number of annulments which were granted. Getting an annulment seemed to be simply a formality Catholics had to file for after getting their legal divorce.

Honestly, I'm surprised that New York state didn't have no-fault divorce. I thought all states (except maybe in the American South) had such a law. As Kostya pointed out in the first post, there are often very good reasons to expedite a divorce. However, I also think that no-fault divorce has had an adverse impact on marriages which might otherwise have been "saved." Rather than work through a rocky patch, couples find it acceptable to say "to heck with you."

I dunno.... should government be in a role of enforcing marriage by making it difficult to end? I think that role really belongs to religions which believe marriage is sacred. Yet I don't see too much activity in that area (among Christians churches, anyways.)

BTW, I have heard of annulments being denied, but such instances stand out because they seem so rare.

[quote="Mary_Gail_36, post:6, topic:202353"]
I'm not sure I understand. An abused woman would claim "cruel and inhuman treatment." How would the abuser stop the divorce process?

[/quote]

Because not only does she have to claim abuse, she also has to be able to prove abuse in court. Proving abuse is something that can be very difficult, especially if you're talking about emotional abuse, and having to face an abusive spouse in court is terrifying to say the least.

Fault-based grounds usually include mental cruelty, but true mental cruelty has a psychological component that can make it very difficult for the abused spouse to articulate that abuse. More to the point, the abused spouse may be terrified to describe the relationship on paper and testify about it in a court. And of course, a controlling spouse will always choose the path of most resistance to whatever it is that the other spouse wants.

open.salon.com/blog/lawless_lawyer/2010/06/17/no-fault_divorce_welcome_to_1983_new_york

[quote="jilly4ski, post:5, topic:202353"]
OP you mentioned no-fault divorce helping out people in abusive relationships but this is not the case. Even in no fault divorce there still has to be a settlement on the assets which can delay the divorce a long time. I have a cousin trying to get out of an abusive marriage and the divorce has been in court for over 2 years (in a no-fault state), because the man gets all his insurance paid for by her, including deducables and co-pays, so he purposefully delays the proceedings in order to hurt and control her and because he benefits from the "marriage." (they also jointly own property/farm and it probably/should be sold and the proceeds split, but he doesn't want to lose the farm).

[/quote]

I am not claiming that no-fault divorce is perfect in protecting women in an abusive relationship only that it takes away one more tool that the abuser might use to maintain control.

[quote="KostyaJMJ, post:1, topic:202353"]

I am having a hard time agreeing with the bishops on this matter. No-Fault divorce is a great asset for women in abusive relationships who need out for their own safety. Assigning fault in a divorce makes it possible for the abusive spouses to stop the divorce process and keep the victim in the relationship for longer. It also makes the divorce process easiest for couples who get along well, making it possible for them to simply assign fault to one party in order to get out of the marriage. Couples who don't get along, on the other hand, will have long drawn-out divorces that will simply make their already fragile relationship even worse. What does everyone else think?

[/quote]

I agree. Marriage is not just for Catholics. I think the Church AGAIN, needs to stay out of civil matters and stop trying to control the whole world. The Church can control what married people do via the rules governing marriage and annulments within the context of the Church. They can do this by providing good catechism, pre canna classes and allument proceedings. They don't need to make things difficult for those again, who are not Catholic, and who do not care to follow Catholic law.

My mom benefited when she was in an abusive relationship with my father. Because she lived in a no-fault divorce state, it was smooth and he was gone fast.

That doesn't always happen. But it's more difficult to get out of bad situations when people drag others through the courts. Fighting over money and possessions will make things take longer. But when one is in a situation where they don't want any of that, and they just want out of a bad situation, this is of great benefit.

For your consideration only:

The State has a legitimate duty for the "common good" of all citizens...and all statistics/social/psychological studies clearly say enduring marriages help the common good/society in untold and innumerable ways...divorce does just the opposite....SO...the State should not be making divorce an "easy" option...period!

As far as no-fault divorce for abusive relationships...get the courts really involved by sticking with a "fault divorce" system...and my bet is that you see less abuse...the penalties will be so severe and the costs so high...that abusive guys (and in some cases gals)...will not want to suffer the penalties...the divorce may happen...but the abuser will be held in check by the penalty's he.she will occur. As far as the "crazy" "psych" abusers...they have to be taken down/out by physical force/restraint...any type court/divorce proceeding will not stop them. (in my historical and cultural family...the men who date, court or marry any one of our women relatives (close or distant)...get a very "pointed" briefing by some of the men in the family...and what it will cost them if they ever physically abuse a woman in the family...it is a "one way conversation":..and they understand very clearly that we men in the family are as "serious as a heart attack" on this issue...and the "briefing" has always worked...divorce, yes, it has happened but no abuse...Nada...Zip...Zero! It is simply not an option...that we men in the family will put up with from anyone...a man physically abusing one of our women...for any reason!).
Lastly...in divorce and family courts...there is no real/effective appeal process like all other criminal and civil court matters...so to me the whole family/divorce court system is unconstitutional...one judge gets it wrong...and there is no way of getting a chance to appeal/reverse his/her bad/erroneous decision...a judge's personality and personal /social agendas...can and do often run rampart with no real "checks and balances"...especially in their stereotypical roles they have in their minds against the man...and for the woman.

Also...re: these two statements...

KostyaJMJ
That is a good point. It is hard to see why we should make divorce harder to get when annulments are granted with such ease. What is the point in making someone suffer trying to save a marriage that doesn't even exist except on paper?

OriginalJS Re: New York Moves Closer to No-Fault Divorce
The problem is that divorce, whether by traditional fault-based proceedings or by "no-fault" legislation, is generally accepted as routine by too many citizens. The Church has not helped the situation by issuing so many annulments either. The fact is that in the US now divorce/dissolution coupled with** an annulment that used to be hard (and I mean hard) to get is easy. Who ever **hears of a court denying either a divorce or dissolution or the *Church denying an annulment now*? I don't think what New York does on this will make any difference.

You have no basis for making these statements..First, you are not recognizing the Church's doctrine and what she teaches abound Sacramental Marriage and you are mixing "apples and oranges" so to speak...when you are implying divorce and annulment are the same thing...and more importantly...you are saying that the Church should not grant annulments...unless it (the Church) agrees with you on how to do it! So, simply put...you don't agree with the Church's Canon Law and the Bishop's/Church's Tribunal decisions...and...by what authority do you make these statements...that the Chruch is wrong!

Second, the Church has Tribunal lawyers and a legal system that puts a ton of effort into these cases...unless you happen to be a Tribunal canon lawyer with first hand experience...how can you justify these statement...or is it just your opinion...the impressions that you have? Do you have any idea of how many annulment requests have been turned down?

I do agree that there seems to be a lot of annulments today versus pre-Vatican II...but it is not my place to judge the Bishop's Tribunal decisions with no facts on each specific cases where an annulment has been granted! Rather, I propose...that we let the Pope and the Curia officials in the Church's "Supreme Canonical Court"...who have the facts and can see the "nuts and bolts" of each case...judge the bishop' s tribunals in the Local Churches...and guide/correct them...if needed.

Lastly, you make statements about how annulments used to be "hard" to get...now they are too "easy"...when the Church's operative words/goal in the annulment process is...Truth and Justice! I would suggest that it is a grave injustice and a serious lack of charity to be so dismissive and critical of Canon Law and the Tribunal lawyers efforts to attain truth and justice for our Catholic brothers and sisters who turn to the Church in their time of great need.

Pax Christi

I live in a no fault state.

I filed for divorce in Feb. of 2004.

I am still NOT divorced.

no fault/fault state.. it doesn't matter.

[quote="Lancer, post:11, topic:202353"]
For your consideration only:

The State has a legitimate duty for the "common good" of all citizens...and all statistics/social/psychological studies clearly say enduring marriages help the common good/society in untold and innumerable ways...divorce does just the opposite....SO...the State should not be making divorce an "easy" option...period!

[/quote]

Agreed, but no-fault divorce has no long term effect on the divorce rate and has the benefits that I mentioned.

  1. doesn't force anyone to stay with an abusive spouse.

  2. allows for a more amicable divorce that provides a more stable environment for any children involved.

[quote="Lancer, post:11, topic:202353"]

Also...re: these two statements...You have no basis for making these statements..First, you are not recognizing the Church's doctrine and what she teaches abound Sacramental Marriage and you are mixing "apples and oranges" so to speak...when you are implying divorce and annulment are the same thing...and more importantly...you are saying that the Church should not grant annulments...unless it (the Church) agrees with you on how to do it! So, simply put...you don't agree with the Church's Canon Law and the Bishop's/Church's Tribunal decisions...and...by what authority do you make these statements...that the Chruch is wrong!

Second, the Church has Tribunal lawyers and a legal system that puts a ton of effort into these cases...unless you happen to be a Tribunal canon lawyer with first hand experience...how can you justify these statement...or is it just your opinion...the impressions that you have? Do you have any idea of how many annulment requests have been turned down?

I do agree that there seems to be a lot of annulments today versus pre-Vatican II...but it is not my place to judge the Bishop's Tribunal decisions with no facts on each specific cases where an annulment has been granted! Rather, I propose...that we let the Pope and the Curia officials in the Church's "Supreme Canonical Court"...who have the facts and can see the "nuts and bolts" of each case...judge the bishop' s tribunals in the Local Churches...and guide/correct them...if needed.

Lastly, you make statements about how annulments used to be "hard" to get...now they are too "easy"...when the Church's operative words/goal in the annulment process is...Truth and Justice! I would suggest that it is a grave injustice and a serious lack of charity to be so dismissive and critical of Canon Law and the Tribunal lawyers efforts to attain truth and justice for our Catholic brothers and sisters who turn to the Church in their time of great need.

Pax Christi

[/quote]

I have no intention of questioning the wisdom of the annulment tribunals in the US. I am perfectly willing to accept the statistics regarding the number of marriages that never actually took place. So according to most accounts we have 90 plus percent of failed Catholic marriages that are invalid and never existed to begin with. Can you imagine what that percentage is in the secular world where things like indissolubility, faithfulness, and openness to children are almost completely foreign concepts? How many people that apply for divorces are actually in valid marriages to begin with then? It seems that this generation is simply incapable of entering in a valid marriage to begin with. Why are we so concerned with making someone fight for a marriage that probably doesn't exist to begin with?

[quote="Lancer, post:11, topic:202353"]

The State has a legitimate duty for the "common good" of all citizens...and all statistics/social/psychological studies clearly say enduring marriages help the common good/society in untold and innumerable ways...divorce does just the opposite....SO...the State should not be making divorce an "easy" option...period!

[/quote]

Its an interesting point of view, and worth discussing Does government have a responsibility to police the well-being of its residents? Certainly it bans the non-prescription use of many drugs. Should it ban smoking? The use of trans fats? The construction of fast food restaurants? All these things could be said to promote the common good.

Does your argument support same-sex marriage?

[quote="Lancer, post:11, topic:202353"]
As far as no-fault divorce for abusive relationships...get the courts really involved by sticking with a "fault divorce" system...and my bet is that you see less abuse...the penalties will be so severe and the costs so high...that abusive guys (and in some cases gals)...will not want to suffer the penalties...the divorce may happen...but the abuser will be held in check by the penalty's he.she will occur.

[/quote]

Except it didn't happen before, which is why there was a movement to no-fault divorce. Is there any reason to think that what you propose would happen in the future? Are any states which don't have no-fault divorce currently doing what you suggest?

[quote="Rence, post:10, topic:202353"]
I agree. Marriage is not just for Catholics. I think the Church AGAIN, needs to stay out of civil matters and stop trying to control the whole world. The Church can control what married people do via the rules governing marriage and annulments within the context of the Church. They can do this by providing good catechism, pre canna classes and allument proceedings. They don't need to make things difficult for those again, who are not Catholic, and who do not care to follow Catholic law.

My mom benefited when she was in an abusive relationship with my father. Because she lived in a no-fault divorce state, it was smooth and he was gone fast.

That doesn't always happen. But it's more difficult to get out of bad situations when people drag others through the courts. Fighting over money and possessions will make things take longer. But when one is in a situation where they don't want any of that, and they just want out of a bad situation, this is of great benefit.

[/quote]

Funny that NOW is also against no-fault divorce. :shrug:

nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2010/06/now-nys-says-no-fault-divorce.html

The New York State chapter of the National Organization For Women is out with some tough criticism of the state Senate vote on no-fault divorce, saying the measure threw "women and children under the bus."

NOW-NYS President Marcia Pappas -- who singled out Democratic Sens. Ruth Hassell-Thompson, Liz Krueger and Diane Savino for pressing the no-fault issue -- said such a law would let down women who are victims of abuse.

"NOW maintains that this law will give judges permission to ignore "cruel and inhuman treatment" as grounds for divorce," the group said in its statement. "Consequently, the moneyed spouse (usually the husband) would have freedom to shelter the marital assets, hire an attorney, and start divorce proceedings before his wife ever suspects what is happening. Pappas said that already judges routinely ignore domestic violence and that this law would rubber-stamp the practice."

Read more: nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2010/06/now-nys-says-no-fault-divorce.html#ixzz0rE9at9c7

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