No Fault Divorce: What Is It?   

In the past, to end a marriage and receive a divorce, a couple had to prove that there was a good reason to do so. This is what ultimately leads to a divorce and is sometimes called the cause of divorce. Originally, only the state of California allowed for the filing of a no fault divorce. Every state in the US now offers the option of a no fault divorce, thanks to changes in the law.  

How does one define “no-fault divorce”? The spouse who wishes to end the marriage may do so in a “no-fault” divorce, which means that they are not implying guilt or blame on the part of the other party. Legal definitions of “no-fault divorce” differ from one state to the next, but in most cases, one spouse needs to only assert that the marriage has irretrievably collapsed due to irreconcilable differences, incompatibility, or irreconcilable differences to get a no-fault divorce.  

How to Get a No-Fault Divorce?  

The petitioning spouse needs to simply state their desire for a divorce to be granted, regardless of fault, when they decide to apply for a divorce. One spouse’s petition is sufficient for a no-fault divorce. Even if one partner strongly disagrees with the divorce, the other cannot stop the court from granting the divorce.  

Remember that to file for a no fault divorce, you and your spouse may need to prove that you’ve lived apart for a certain period in your state. Couples may spend a few months or even a few years apart, depending on the state in which they live.  

How Long Does a No-Fault Divorce Take?  

No-fault divorces have very straightforward timetables. It currently takes at least 26 weeks to complete a no-fault divorce.  

The reason for this is the implementation of two separate minimum waiting times. The Conditional Order (formerly the Decree Nisi) takes 20 weeks to issue, while the Final Order (previously the Decree Absolute) takes a further 6 weeks.  

Other factors, including asset distribution and child custody arrangements, will undoubtedly influence the amount of time it takes to finalize a divorce.  

Differences Between Fault and No-Fault Divorce  

A no-fault divorce, by definition, represents the belief that a couple’s marriage ended not because of one individual’s wrongdoing, but because of unresolved issues between the couple. The vocabulary used in individual states’ laws varies; however, it is typical to see expressions like “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” or “irreconcilable differences.”  

An increasing number of jurisdictions are transitioning from fault to no-fault grounds. Despite this, some people choose to establish blame grounds over no-fault grounds, as long as the state allows it. This is because, in some situations, a guilty decision might affect the divorce settlement.  

Is No-Fault Divorce a Good Thing?  

A lot of people think that a no-fault divorce is better than a trial by jury because it’s simpler and more compassionate. They think that if couples weren’t required to place blame, animosity and resentment would decrease, making things simpler for everyone, particularly children. Pointing fingers at others is impractical and there are several legitimate causes of marital failure. Instead, individuals should concentrate on their future happiness. This explains the widespread acceptance of the no-fault divorce policy.  

Because of the possible detrimental impact on one or both spouses, some argue that marriages should terminate for less severe reasons than the more typical ones, including adultery, abuse, or child abuse. The no-fault divorce system has these individuals’ backing. It is unfair to place the burden of evidence on the innocent spouse to establish their spouse’s guilt to terminate the marriage on one of these grounds. 

Does My No-Fault Divorce Have to Be Uncontested?  

No. The validity of the marriage is irretrievably broken or another no-fault grounds is the sole element that remains uncontested in a no-fault divorce. The court will not take into account your reasons for not wanting a divorce, even if you and your spouse have differing ideas. The law considers forcing someone who wants a divorce to stay married against their choice as a breach of public interest. 

However, do not use this as an indication that you must agree with anything else. You have the right to challenge your spouse’s proposed terms on the division of property, the distribution of debt, and child custody.  

Key Notes  

Divorce is already a terrible process, and it’s hard enough to discover your marriage isn’t working. Despite the intention of no-fault divorce to simplify the process, the complexity of certain cases can make it challenging. 

Regardless of your opinion on no-fault divorce—whether it is still prejudiced or the best way to separate—it is a reality in every state and, in some cases, your only option. Contact a seasoned divorce attorney experienced with your state’s no-fault divorce rules for assistance on how to proceed.