The Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Divorce

The Difference Between Fault and No-Fault Divorce

There’s an old saying that goes, “Marriages are made in heaven.” This was probably said by someone who was a strong believer in fate, God, or both. What that person doesn’t know is that people change, and they often tend to hurt people they like (or used to like). Only those who’ve been in bad marriages know the amount of lying and deceit behind that saying.

A divorce is a valid (and sensible) option when the marriage has run its course or there has been a breach of trust. But one cannot end a marriage as it is. Sure, living separately might work. But important decisions and next-of-kin rights still have to be made only after consent from both spouses.

This is not the case with a divorce. Divorced couples can have independent lives without having to bother one another. But a divorce has lots of legal complexities. The previous statement is true, particularly for residents of San Diego. With a divorce rate of 9.7%, San Diego is up there with cities like Bakersfield and San Bernardino in California when it comes to divorce.

San Diegans who’re looking to end their marriage should contact a San Diego divorce attorney. They can help you make the right decision and will be by your side throughout the divorce process. Having a lawyer is beneficial, as the laws regarding divorce vary from state to state.

Divorces are generally of two types. They are:

  • Fault Divorce
  • No-Fault Divorce

This article discusses what they are and how they differ from each other.

Fault Divorce

Fault divorces used to be common earlier, but not so much now.

These are the ones where a divorce is filed because a spouse committed a matrimonial offense. These offenses generally include:

  • Adultery
  • Abandonment
  • Prison confinement
  • Inability to engage in sexual intercourse
  • Domestic abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Habitual intoxication
  • Incurable insanity
  • Neglect

It is up to the spouse who files for divorce due to fault to prove the offense of which he or she is accused.

Fault divorces also lead to higher alimony and a larger share of marital assets.

Additionally, fault divorces have a range of defenses that a spouse can use to deny the offense they’re being accused of. These defenses include:

  • Connivance: A defense that claims that the spouse gave consent for the adulterous act or was enticed into it.
  • Condonation: The spouse had knowledge about the issue and decided to either overlook it or forgive it.
  • Recrimination: A spouse who files for divorce engages in conduct that makes accusations against them
  • Provocation: The spouse was provoked into committing the offense.
  • Collusion: An agreement between the spouses to fake a divorce.
Free photo couple divorcing agreement

Image source

No-Fault Divorce

In no-fault divorces, couples can go their separate ways without having to provide valid reasons. Even if the separation was a result of matrimonial offenses like adultery or abuse, the spouse can still opt for a no-fault divorce.

No-fault divorces are more common as they are faster and the process involved is less complex.

In addition to matrimonial offenses listed earlier, other grounds for a no-fault divorce include:

  • Incompatibility
  • Loss of trust
  • A broken marriage

Some states expect couples or a spouse who has filed a no-fault divorce to live separately for a specific period of time.

Fault and No-Fault Divorce: The Differences

There are certain things that separate fault divorces from no-fault divorces. These differences are discussed in this section.

  1. Fault divorces need some type of matrimonial offense to be approved. No-fault divorces do not have such requirements
  2. The spouse making the accusation in a fault-based divorce has the burden of proof.
  3. A spouse can object to a fault-based divorce
  4. No-fault divorces are not applicable in states that follow covenant marriages
  5. Fault-based divorces are comparatively expensive
  6. No-fault divorces have a state-specific period of separation. Fault-based divorces do not have this period of separation

Final Thoughts

Ending a marriage might be the only option in certain situations. In such times, it is important to understand all the intricate details involved in the process.

Divorce laws tend to vary from state to state as well. As such, it is recommended to consult an experienced divorce lawyer to comprehend everything involved in the process.