Understanding the Differences Between Fault and No Fault Divorce

States have two types of divorce: fault and no fault. Some adopted the latter in their laws, which allows couples to dissolve their marriage without getting into details. Read on to learn the difference between these types of divorce.

Defining No Fault Divorce

States that allow no fault divorce base it on the reason that couples have irreconcilable differences. When either spouse fills out a petition for dissolution of marriage in no fault states, they just let the court know they want to divorce and cite ‘irretrievable breakdown of the marriage’ as their reason. Either one does not have to elaborate any other reason or mention any fault to file for divorce.

Most states allow and recognize pure no-fault divorces to some degree. However, for those that still require another basis for divorce, couples may opt for ‘separation’ as their ground for seeking the dissolution of their marriage. Alternatively, to avoid identifying faults as basis in such states, a couple can separate for a certain period, and then finalize their divorce. Divorce lawyers in Denver can help couples determine their legal course of action and take the next steps, whether it is for alimony or child custody.

Understanding Fault Divorce

A number of states still allow couples to identify faults as the reason/s for seeking divorce. In such states, a spouse may allege that the other did something that resulted in the failure of their marriage. Each state has its own grounds, but some of the common reasons include, but are not limited to:

  1. Adultery
  2. Prison confinement
  3. A spouse is unable to have sex
  4. Cruelty (emotional or physical abuse)

Once either spouse proves fault, the one without fault gets a bigger percentage of support or marital property.

Divorce Residency

Before one can file for divorce in a particular state, he or she must be a resident of that state for a certain period. The required time varies per state, but most require at least six months of residency.

Differentiating between the two allows couples to take the next legal steps to end their marriage, determine alimony, and decide on child custody, if they have children. Working with an experienced divorce attorney is a good decision.