There are two types of divorce: no-fault and fault. It’s important to note that while not all states have a no-fault divorce option, all states do allow for couples to file something that’s very similar. In essence, couples can get a divorce without talking about their differences in court.
Yes, there are differences between these two divorce types that must be understood.
No-Fault Divorce Basics
No-fault is, for all intents and purposes, a way of saying that a divorce is taking place because the couple has irreconcilable differences. Neither party is at fault for these differences, and both parties agree that it would be better if they were no longer together.
In essence, a no-fault divorce occurs when there is no hope of reconciliation between couples.
If you are getting divorced in a state that does allow a no-fault divorce, you simply have to write that there are irreconcilable differences, and will not need to prove fault for the divorce to be finalized. You don’t need to explain that your spouse cheated on you, you don’t love each other anymore, or anything of that nature.
Some states do not have these laws in place, Arkansas and Louisiana are prime examples. The state used to require that you would have to prove that your spouse was at fault before a court would grant a divorce. Even though these states do not allow for no-fault divorces, you can use what is considered a loophole by filing for a divorce because of “separation.”
All you have to do is prove that you have been separated for the required period of time set by the state. In this circumstance, you would be able to go through with the divorce without having to prove fault.
Fault Divorce Basics
“Fault” divorces are required in two thirds of the United States. What occurs in this circumstance is that either spouse can allege that the other person is at fault for the marriage failing. Each state has different grounds that will be followed for an at-fault divorce, but this is the basic premises.
Most states will consider the following as grounds for divorce:
- Substance abuse
- Felony conviction
When the circumstances are considered, they can have a bearing on the divorce as a whole. Not only can they be a factor in granting a divorce, but they can also be a factor when dividing marital property. The court may grant a larger share of the assets to the spouse that was not at fault because they did try to make the marriage work.
Fault may also be used when awarding alimony. If an innocent spouse seeks alimony, he or she will be able to utilize the no-fault factor to their advantage. Since the spouse did everything in his or her power to ensure that the marriage lasted, they may receive higher alimony as a result.
No-fault divorces are becoming more common, and there are ways even in states that only have “fault” divorces to get divorced without having to discuss the fine details with the courts. In most cases, you can demonstrate that you have been separated for an extended period of time, and this will satisfy the court.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm specializing in family law and estates. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.