New York's divorce law may be changing

June 16, 2010 4:12:30 PM PDT
New York is the only state in the union that doesn't allow a "no fault" divorce, but that may soon change.

He is perhaps the most famous divorce lawyer in America.

Raoul Felder on Tuesday watched the New York State Senate vote 32 to 27 giving New York no-fault divorce.

"I don't think it's going to help women. I don't think it's good for society," he said.

Felder is famous for representing Rudy Giuliani in his messy divorce.

He's also had as clients Elizabeth Taylor's ex Larry Fortensky And Robin Givens, who divorced boxer Mike Tyson.

Felder says the new law means more business because New Yorkers will divorce more, which is something he says he doesn't like.

"There will be a certain component; a certain percentage of the people who will now get divorced would not have been in divorce. Any time you pass a law that makes something available that wasn't before people take advantage of it," he said.

But lawyers like Adriene Holder disagree. The old law still on the books requires somebody to be at fault. In New York, someone has to take the blame even if both parties want a divorce.

"You can see why a lot of people turn away and say they're not willing to go forward with a divorce if it's very complicated and it makes it hard. It's costly. It's unfair," Holder said.

The Catholic Church is against the change fearing it means more divorce. Some women's groups are also opposed.

"It takes the negotiating power of the lesser or the non-winning spouse and that's usually the woman," Marcia Pappas of the National Organization for Women said.

But others say the change will shorten the divorce process for thousands of New Yorkers, making things more fair for everyone.

"And so the idea of streamlining the process so people can get on with their lives and there's no emotional trauma to the spouses and their children especially, that's what's most important," Holder said.