What exactly does the new law mean for us here in NY? This is a bit of a difficult question to answer until we actually see how the courts rule and the law is implemented. It should follow however, that grounds will no longer be an issue and therefore something which is essentially off the table and no longer litigated. In most cases the only reason grounds were litigated was too stall the divorce or derail it in the event the financial agreeements could not be worked out. In other words it was used as a tool to level one party to give in and settle. It has never been the lynch pin that kept families together regardless of what the legislature said about public policy.
Keeping unhappy people together is never a good idea and should have been abolished long ago.
The other parts of the law are more complex. While there is now a provision for Maintenance which mandates that the monied spouse pay to the non monied spouse a sum certain for a period of time formally known as Alimony, this is a provision which already exists. The judge at this time has discretion in this area and it is usually negotiated between the parties unless litigation makes it necessary for the judge to decide. So how this changes now is a question. Unless there is a formula in place this doesn't seem like a big change.
Legal fees are also already provided for in the present law. Again this is discretionary with the court and we will have to see how the courts now impliment this new law which seems as if it is a stronger statement on interim fees.
The one thing I believe this new law will accomplish is that it should make people more willing to divorce in this state as opposed to seeking residency elsewhere and suing outside the state. The rest of the law will need time to play out, but it is at last a start in civilizing the dissolution of marriage in a state which had been reluctantly holding fast to archaic standards.