No one gets married expecting it will end, and yet many marriages do. Nearly half the marriages in the United States end in divorce each year.
A divorce can a difficult time for the family. You’re adjusting to a new version of your life, and at the same struggling to appropriately break down your previous arrangement. It’s important to go about this carefully, in the proper fashion.
Part of that is understanding the difference between a fault-based and no-fault divorce. When a spouse petitions for divorce, they can pick between the two options depending on the state you are in and the specifics of your situation.
Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about a fault or no-fault divorce.
Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce
What kind of divorce should you file for? It’s important to understand the difference between the two types of divorce. Your case will be handled differently depending on which form of divorce is requested.
Between the two types, no-fault divorces are much more common. A no-fault divorce refers to a type of divorce in which a spouse doesn’t have to prove any fault on the part of the other spouse.
A no-fault divorce is allowed in all states in the United States. In order to receive a divorce, a spouse would simply have to give a reason recognized by a court of law. The most common of these reasons include irreconcilable differences or irreparable breakdown of the marriage.
In short form, this just means that the couple can not get along.
There are certain states that require couples to live apart for a few months before being able to file for a no-fault divorce. Most states don’t require such a separation period.
Rarer is the concept of fault divorce. A fault divorce is granted if a spouse has grounds to place the blame for the divorce on the other party.
This can be for a few different reasons, including adultery, abandonment, imprisonment, cruelty, or sexual impotence.
There are a few reasons why a member of a couple might want to file for a fault divorce. A fault divorce allows one to skip past the separation period that many states require and divorce immediately. It also allows the spouse who was not at fault to receive a larger share of the marital property following the divorce.
Fault divorce is an older concept that is becoming rarer and rarer in the modern world. Many states in the country no longer support or allow for a fault divorce.
Unique Fault Divorce Situations
When it comes to stopping a divorce from happening, there’s not much a spouse can do. If a partner wants a no-fault divorce, there’s nothing the other partner can legally do to prevent it from happening. That being said, there are a few unusual situations that can result from fault divorce requests.
Comparative Rectitude occurs when both partners file for a fault divorce against the other, and they both are correct. For example, comparative rectitude would occur if both spouses were caught in the act of adultery. In this situation, a court of law would find which spouse was least at fault.
There are a number of defenses that can be brought against fault claims as well. An accused spouse can argue that they were provoked by their partner to act in a certain way.
If a spouse learned of a fault reason but continued with the relationship anyway, they can be found to legally have condoned the act. This means they can no longer use it as a reason to express fault.
Collusion refers to claims that fault evidence was fabricated or executed with the purposeful goal of divorce and claiming marital property.
If you are in a situation where you hope to halt or disprove a fault divorce request, contact a trained attorney. Professionals such as Hoelscher Gebbia Cepeda can help to ensure that a wrongful divorce claim isn’t brought against you.
State laws regarding divorce vary greatly from state to state. That’s why it’s important to take the time to research and understand the laws in your own state regarding divorce.
Most states have a residency requirement that states a couple must have lived in the state for a certain period of time before they can apply for divorce there. This prevents couples from visiting a different state just to get a divorce.
It’s usually a good idea to file for a divorce in the state you’re living and plan to live in for some time. The same court that handles initial divorce proceedings will need to handle all follow-up matters as well.
That means if aspects of your divorce agreement changes, you’ll need to travel back to the same court. Using a court far from home can become a huge hassle in this situation.
This can also become a dramatic situation for separated couples who may be living in different states. Whichever state the divorce is filed for in first will be the state that the entire divorce proceedings will need to take place in.
If you think that your spouse may file for a divorce in their home state, it might be worth beating them to the punch and filing first in yours.
Understanding Fault and No-Fault Divorce
If your marriage is on the rocks, it’s important to understand how divorce proceedings might unfold. Understanding the difference between a fault and no-fault divorce can ensure you make it out of your marriage in the best possible shape.
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