In 2010, New York became the last state in the country to pass a no-fault divorce law and eliminate the need for one partner to be held responsible for the end of the marriage. Supporters said the law would do away with lengthy trials—reducing acrimony, containing costs and sparing people additional emotional pain. For most divorcing couples in New York, the law has worked as intended. But as no-fault cases proceed through the courts, a handful of judges have interpreted the law differently, calling for trials to determine whether the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
As a result, couples divorcing in different counties have been held to different standards, with some still undergoing trials despite the reform effort.