The Divorce Blog has previously detailed a pending New York divorce in which a Nassau judge refused to rule on it in anticipation of a proposed no-fault divorce law in the state legislature. On Monday, Nassau County State Supreme Court Justice Robert Ross officially denied the divorce of Jeffrey and Paula Molinari some two weeks after coming to his unusual decision to not rule on the case. Jeffrey Molinari had sought a divorce on the grounds of “constructive abandonment,” or that his wife refused to have sex with him for a year. When originally refusing to decide this case, Ross said that current New York divorce laws do not recognize this argument as a valid reason for divorce and then urged state legislators to pass a proposed no-fault divorce law which would allow such a divorce. With legislators failing to take such action in the last two weeks, Ross came to his final decision and denied the Molinari divorce.
A Newsday.com story said that Ross declined to comment on the case but did write in his decision that even if this proposed New York no-fault divorce law was acted upon, it would be too long to make a timely determination in this case. As detailed here yesterday, the New York Senate Judiciary Committee has passed a proposed divorce law that would not allow a no-fault divorce law in the state but rather shorten the separation period in order to file for divorce from one year to three months. The Newsday.com story added that New York is the only state without a no-fault divorce law and rather requires one spouse to blame the other of wrongdoing and the couple to agree to a complicated separation agreement.
Paula Molinari’s New York divorce lawyer was not happy with Ross’ final decision. Specifically, Dominic Barbara called this continuing New York divorce “a tragedy” and added that his client would “be happy” to end the pain of this case for her children if a fair divorce settlement was offered. Jeffrey’s Molinari’s lawyer disputed such claims and said that it is Paula Molinari who wanted to prolong the case for her financial gain. Specifically, Kenneth Koopersmith added that his client can now file a new divorce case in New Jersey, which passed a no-fault divorce law earlier this year.
No-fault divorce laws most often allow divorces to end more quickly. Proponents of a New York no-fault divorce law have criticized current fault laws as a means to stretch out divorce cases and use this lengthy process to arrange more favorable custody and financial agreements, as Jeffrey Molinari has accused his wife of doing. Opponents to a New York no-fault divorce law have said that it threatens the sanctity of marriage and takes away an important bargaining chip for the poorer spouse. We’ll keep you updated on the latest developments surrounding this strange divorce case and the New York no-fault divorce law debate.