Learn what the distinctions between a fault and no-fault divorce are and how they can affect your divorce case.
To rebuff notions of fault in divorce cases, each state has now accepted some type of a “no-fault” divorce, in which enables couples to terminate their marriage without disclosing their details in court. The following post gives you an overview of the differences between fault and no-fault divorces.
What Are No-Fault Divorces?
“No-fault” divorces are in reference to a divorce on the basis of “irreconcilable differences” or “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” These are just elaborate ways of stating a couple is unable to get along and there’s zero chance for reconciliation.
When filling-out your petition (legal documents) for divorce in no-fault states, you just let the court know you’re pursuing a divorce on the basis of irreconcilable differences; you don’t have to let the court what led-up to the divorce or demonstrate that your divorce is your spouse’s fault. In no-fault divorces, there’s isn’t a need to assert that your spouse engaged in misconduct, since courts won’t consider either spouse’s bad behavior when deciding if they should grant the divorce.
A lot of states now have laws that permit for pure no-fault divorces. Those that don’t, allow for some alteration of one. Arkansas and Louisiana, for instance, still don’t acknowledge “irreconcilable differences” as a reason for divorce. Before, in those states, you had to demonstrate your spouse’s fault prior to a court granting a divorce, but that isn’t the case anymore. Even in the states that don’t acknowledge irreconcilable differences, couples may still get a divorce based on grounds of “separation.” When you both want to avoid claiming fault in these states, you can that by proving that you have been separated for the required time period.
What Are Fault Divorces?
Around 2/3rds of states still permit spouses to claim fault as the reason for a divorce. In fault-based divorces, one spouse might contend that the other did something that was the cause of the marriage failing. Every state has a distinct set of “fault” grounds, however, many of the more general grounds are:
- alcohol and/or drug abuse, and
- a felony conviction.
Can A Spouse Successfully Prevent A Court From Granting A Divorce?
One spouse can’t prevent a no fault divorce. Disputing the other spouse’s request for divorce is itself an irreconcilable difference that would warrant the divorce.
Spouses are able to impede a fault divorce, nevertheless, by persuading the court that they are not at fault. Additionally, many other defenses to a divorce might be possible:
- Condonation is an individual’s consent of another’s activities. For instance, a wife that doesn’t object to her husband’s infidelity may be thought to condone it. When the wife sues her husband for divorce, asserting he has engaged in infidelity, the husband can disagree as a defense that she consented to his conduct.
- Connivance is the set-up of a situation so that the other individual commits a wrong-doing. For instance, a husband that invites his wife’s lover to the house and then takes off for the weekend could be said to have connived her infidelity. If the husband sues his wife for divorce, claiming she has engaged infidelity, the wife may argue as her defense that he connived – in other words, set-up — her actions.
- Provocation is the instigating of another to commit a specific act. When a spouse suing for divorce alleging that the other spouse deserted them, their spouse could defend the case on the grounds that she provoked the desertion.
- When a couple lives in a state in which no fault divorce requires the couple to separate for a long period and the couple is hesitant to wait, they could fake that one of them was at fault to create grounds for divorce. This is known as collusion since they are collaborating in order to deceive the judge. When one spouse chooses they no longer want to get divorced (prior to the divorce being granted), they could bring up collusion as their defense.
However, these defenses are seldom used — for several realistic reasons. First, demonstrating a defense might require witnesses and involves a lot of time and money. Second, your efforts are going to potentially come to nothing. In all probability a court is going to ultimately grant the divorce, since there is a solid public policy against forcing individuals to remain married when they don’t want to anymore.
How Can Fault Affect a Divorce?
Courts might consider marital wrongdoing in one or more of the below ways.
Fault as an element in granting divorces. In fault states, spouses are able to still claim misconduct as the grounds for their divorce.
Fault as an element in the division of property. A court might consider either spouse’s bad misconduct as an element in the division of property. For instance, if one spouse squandered marital funds on an adulterous affair, the court may award a larger portion of the marital property to the blameless spouse.
Fault as an element in awarding spousal support. Likewise to the division of property, fault can also have an influence on spousal support awards.
Lina Guillen, A. (2021, May 14). No-Fault Versus Fault Divorce. www.divorcenet.com. https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/divorce/divorce-basics/no-fault-versus-fault-divorce.htm.
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