After centuries of torture and misery, New York state is finally going to legalize no-fault divorce and save our sanity.
We're all in favor of love and the happily-ever-after, but there are many reasons why this breaking news is a huge step forward into modern times for the state. Yes, our government, which is so far removed from reality that it still bars gays from joining straights in marital hell
, does not have the time to work on wasteful projects like "passing laws" or "balancing the budget," but once in a while they do make halfhearted attempts at productivity.
At present, it is impossible to receive a divorce
within one year of separation unless one party claims abandonment, cruelty or adultery
, which is still an arrestable offense. A bill headed to a fight in the state Assembly, and which has already passed the Senate, will allow for a divorce on the ol' Hollywood hush-hush grounds of "irreconcilable differences," without the need to divulge that she stopped giving you oral and you kept demanding she bring you a Budweiser
Keep reading to find out why this no-fault-divorce thing may actually be a bad idea.
Local divorce lawyer Diana Adams
has been through this runaround before. "Women's organizations have opposed a switch to no-fault divorce because they thought it would be a detriment to women," she tells Asylum. "Their argument was that wives often have less money and could use their agreement to grounds as leverage for more money in division of assets, assuming that husbands leave wives more often."
In her experience, however, the spouse with the big bucks can drag court proceedings out longer than the sixth season of "Lost,"
arguing about grounds even when the divorce is mutual. "Representing low-income domestic violence victims has taught me that sometimes abusive spouses refuse to accept grounds as a method of tormenting and controlling the other spouse," says Adams. Oftentimes this means the victimized spouse must hire an expensive lawyer and therefore can't afford to get divorced at all.
notes that, in order to be granted a no-contest conclusion to your marriage, as the law stands now, couples must have "lived apart for a full year under a formal separation agreement -- a proven formula for inviting false testimony, endless litigation and generally making divorce far more painful than it needs to be." (Strangely, they neglected the most painful part of divorce -- when she runs off with your manhood and dignity.) So, after all this time and much criticism, should we have no-fault divorce at all?
Adams tells us that there's a pretty good reason to legalize it regardless: sticking it to all those nutty religious people who think the government and church should be in bed together (no pun intended). "Also, if a citizen wants to be able to make a non-romantic economic partnership with her sister or best friend and share health insurance
benefits, co-habitate, and pay taxes together in a committed way, government should recognize this partnership and treat it like a family, too."
Hey now -- sisters getting married? This is either the best documentary ever made or the worst lesbian porno. Either way, maybe we should start with no-fault divorce and baby-step toward something easier to stomach -- like no-fault gay divorce