Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Ties That Bind (or Give Me Free)

The New York Times reported earlier this week that NYS divorce law is about to change. New York State is the only state that doesn’t grant no-fault divorce. The plaintiff must prove cruel and inhuman treatment, abandonment or adultery or the couple must be legally separated for a year before a divorce is granted. What about those of us whose relationships are simply over?

I’ve been in limbo for almost 4 years. I am a single woman who when I meet someone new feels compelled to explain why they may see mail around my place with a hyphenated last name. Or thinking about the future, what if we want to do the “I do”, we won’t be able to. I’m not a fan of long, drawn out divorce battles. Some may consider divorce an easy out when things get rough. They may believe that couples should “stay together for the children” or they take “till death do you part” literally, are willing to spend years in counseling that doesn’t work or just become apathetic to their spouses. Pish posh. Some relationships end.

The current divorce law in New York State “induces couples to falsely testify to abandonment simply to speed up the process”, as stated in the NYT article. I’ve been tempted myself; I’ve been racking my brain to see how I could make my situation fit into the criteria required under NY State law. I am pleased to find out that Women’s Bar Association is now in support of no-fault divorce. Their reasoning? Placing blame or guilt provides “no economic or other advantage for either party” and it can harm the children. I can relate. We were just as poor when the relationship ended as when it started and had no children that would be affected by the divorce, no custody or child support to iron out. What could’ve been an amicable divorce turns into a blame game. The end of a relationship isn't always just one person’s fault. I could never understand why someone would contest a divorce; just divorce someone who doesn’t want to be married to you. Now that I think about it, I can understand the thought process. I think it boils down to pride… Why should I take the blame?

So what’s better, an out or an easier out?

I still believe if it wasn’t so easy to get married, that would play a role in decreasing the divorce rate. We decided to get married on a Monday or Tuesday many years ago. On that Friday, February 14, it was official. If those 22 and 23 year olds had more hoops to jump through before marriage, it may have stopped us. We were young, not ready for the weight of marriage.

I’m sure there are other “single” people in this same predicament. And not having to find or create a reason for divorce in the future is a relief. The relationship is over. That fact needs to be made legal.

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