No Fault Divorce Legislation Hurts Women
Marcia A. Pappas, President, NOW NYS, Inc.
Lillian Kozak & Gloria Jacobs, Co-Chairs of NOW NYS, Inc.
Domestic Relations Law Task Force
Arguments in favor of adding a no-fault ground to New York State law conceal the tragic results of no-fault
divorce for women in no-fault states.
The National Organization for Women, New York State, Inc (NOW-NYS, Inc) strongly opposes no-fault
divorce legislation that has been introduced in our Legislature. Opposition to unilateral no-fault divorce has
been our long-standing position with strong support from the entire NOW body. We are an organization of
advocates for equality for women. The majority of calls received by our chapters are from women in the midst
of severe matrimonial problems.
The New York State Bar Association has stated that New York needs no-fault because New York is the only
state without unilateral no-fault grounds. This is not a good enough reason, as we will explain. New York State
is also the only state requiring child support until age 21. This is a shining example of protecting our children
better than any other state.
The following is taken from the opposition memorandum of The Domestic Violence Task Force of the Bar
Association of the City of New York: “We find the argument included in the memorandum of support of the
proposed bill that no-fault should be adopted because otherwise a spouse who lacks economic resources may be
forced to remain in a marriage that is not working for them to be entirely unpersuasive and not representative of
our clients lives.
There are myriad reasons why spouses choose to stay in a marriage or to divorce. This is true for battered
women a well as women who have never been battered. No-fault divorce takes away their options, it allows the
spouse with no grounds, batterer or not, to obtain a divorce over the objections of the less powerful spouse
without negotiating a divorce settlement.
Eliminating the requirement to reach a settlement