October 12, 20010 – Slow First Day of No-Fault Divorce in NY

Anticipation for this big day in New York turned into thin air amongst all those who strongly opposed the passing of this new law.

NYPOST Reports: In Manhattan Supreme Court, four no-fault cases were filed, while in The Bronx, there were only two. In Queens, clerks didn’t have a breakdown of how many no-fault cases were filed, but overall there were 24 divorce petitions — which officials there described as a typical day. Officials in Brooklyn and Staten Island didn’t have breakdowns.

I actually envisioned long lines with lots of media coverage, so I made a trip to the Brooklyn Supreme Court two days later just to try this for myself.  At first, the Pro Se office that helps litigants file paperwork if they are self representing tried to help, but I soon maxed out their expertise. Apparently, they did not have the paperwork yet for the new Divorce law.

The packet that they gave me was very helpful for a do-it-yourself uncontested divorce, however the divorce grounds were numbered one through six, and the seventh one (irretrievable breakdown in relationship) was noticeably missing.

Because the template was with check boxes, there was no way you could enter it yourself. The clerk in the office suggested I go online and see if the website was updated with the new templates. Thankfully, their computers are available free of charge. Their webpage security though, did not allow me to open the PDF file which contained the divorce action template.

When I got back home, I checked the website for the templates, only to find that those too were not updated. So much for the new law and ease of use.

In Brooklyn Family Court, my friend had difficulty filing for an extension on an order of protection which was expiring the next day. The excuse at the 6th floor petition room? You need a family offense to get the petition in. WRONG! There is a new law that allows an extension based on reasonable cause.

Apparently, New York is always the last to adapt to new laws and the clerks will successfully manipulate unsuspecting petitioners to follow the guidelines that they feel secure with.

TIP: Just remember to ask people for their names, so that you can tell the judge that on this and this day, this person told you so and so.

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