A Quickie Divorce? Not So Quick.

Everyone has heard of the quickie wedding or the shotgun wedding, but what about a quickie divorce? Even with the enactment of no-fault divorce in every state, many no-fault statutes still require a period of separation or attestation to a period of breakdown. New York’s no-fault statute DRL§170(7) states “The relationship between husband and wife has broken down irretrievably for a period of at least six months, provided that one party has so stated under oath.” Conversely, to get married in New York, a person must wait 24 hours between the issuance of a marriage license and the solemnization of marriage. Thus, to enter into the institution of marriage you need to only wait one day whereas to get out of the institution of marriage and obtain a divorce you need to have a six month breakdown.

These two notions bring up interesting problems. For example, what if someone enters into a marriage and two months later determines that was a mistake and wants to get divorced? Or what about the young couple who fall in love and elope in Las Vegas, only to realize a month later it was a mistake? If annulment is not an option, what option is available? When you have been married less than six months how do you attest that your marriage has been broken down irretrievably for at least six months? A couple could easily spend more time trying to get out of a marriage and get a divorce then the amount of time they were actually (happily) married. A tactic many divorce attorneys use is to start the divorce proceedings and then draw them out so by the time the paperwork becomes final it has been six months. However, doesn’t that seem contrary to what most parties want out of a divorce? Parties to a divorce want an ending, they want to wrap up their relationship and move on. What they do not want is to be dragged through a long court procedure.

Is it right that it seems harder to get a divorce than it is to get married in the first place?