Types of Divorce: Fault vs. No Fault Lawyers

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What is a "No Fault" Divorce?

The key feature of a "no fault" divorce is that the spouse filing for divorce need not prove any wrongdoing or "fault" on behalf of either party to get a divorce. Some states require the couple to declare they no longer can get along. In other states, the couple is required to live apart for a specified period of time (months or years) before they can file for a no fault divorce.

What is a "Fault" Divorce?

A "fault" divorce is granted when the filing party cites a reason why their spouse is at fault for the failure of their marriage. The traditional grounds for a fault divorce are:

An advantage of filing for a fault divorce is that it may eliminate the mandatory period of separation that is required for a no fault divorce.  Additionally, some states may grant a greater share of marital property or alimony to a party who proves the other's fault.

Do All States Grant "Fault Divorces"?

No. 15 states, including California and Florida, do not grant fault divorces.  Instead, they only allow for no fault divorces, even in cases where a spouse has violated the traditional grounds for a fault divorce.  The other states allow a spouse to choose to file for a fault or no fault divorce.

Do I Need a Divorce Attorney?

Obtaining a divorce can be a complicated and legnthy process.  Additionally, it is often an emotional and stressful time.  You should contact an attorney specializing in divorce to handle your case.  Your attorney will be able to guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected in the divorce settlement.

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Last Modified: 10-05-2011 11:32 AM PDT

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