We previously posted a blog discussing how a party may be able to secure a decree of separation and enumerated five (5) ways you can seek a judgment of separation from a court under Domestic Relations Law (“DRL”) § 200. We also previously noted that a party is extremely limited in the circumstances for which they may seek a formal judgment of separation from the court, which is why many spouses opt to enter into a separation agreement instead.

On January 7, 2021, New York Assembly Bill 1128 (“A.B. 1128”) was introduced, entitled “An act to amend the domestic relations law, in relation to allowing for no fault separation” (the “proposed amendment”).[i] Currently, DRL § 200 lists only fault grounds as a basis for a judgment of legal separation. This proposed amendment will permit spouses to obtain a judgment of legal separation based upon an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage for at least six (6) months. The amendment would mimic the language set forth in DRL § 170(7) providing for a no-fault divorce.

Although there has not been much movement on this proposed amendment in the legislature; should this proposed amendment become law, many people could benefit, especially individuals who are attempting to avoid the loss of health insurance coverage (which would occur with the issuance of a judgment of divorce) but also want court-ordered relief.

The information in this blog is subject to change as further developments with the proposed amendment to DRL § 200 may arise. Any person contemplating a legal separation should consult legal counsel of their choice. The material in this blog is meant only to provide general information and is not a substitute nor is it legal advice to you. In the event you need legal assistance, please contact Hanna E. Kirkpatrick at 516-746-8000 or via email at hkirkpatrick@jaspanllp.com.

[i] 2021 N.Y. A.B. 1128 at “Synopsis”.