New York recently became the 50th state to enact some version of no-fault divorce legislation. No-fault divorce allows couples to seek a divorce based upon an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage, “irreconcilable differences,” or simply “things are not working and we want a divorce.” California was the first state to recognize no-fault divorce in 1970.
Prior to the introduction of no-fault divorce, a person seeking a divorce would have to prove his/her spouse was at fault, based upon such grounds as abandonment or adultery. A judge would hear these allegations, and the other spouse could provide defenses. The judge would then make a decision based upon whether the first spouse had proven the second spouse was at fault. If so, the first spouse was entitled to a divorce. In some cases, a judge could decide both spouses were at fault, and as such neither spouse was entitled to a divorce.
No-fault divorce allows divorcing couples to divorce amicably and without the need to air dirty laundry or make accusations.