No-Fault vs Fault Divorce: What are Fault Grounds?
When a married couple or one partner in the marriage wants to end their legal partnership, then they must initiate divorce proceedings with their state government. Every state in the United States recognizes divorce. However, the kind of divorce proceeding initiated can lead to different scenarios within the court. This happens as not every divorce case involves mutual consent towards ending the marriage.
What is the Difference Between a Fault and No-Fault Divorce?
There are two main kinds of divorce cases, depending on whether both parties are mutually consenting to the divorce, or if one party is blaming the other for causing the deterioration in the partnership. When both parties agree to mutually initiate a divorce proceeding with the intention to end the marriage and without blaming either party for causing the deterioration of the marriage, then such a marriage is called no-fault divorce. When one spouse blames their partner for the deterioration of the marriage and sets out to prove that the marriage ended because of the partner, then such proceedings is known as a fault divorce.
The main difference between these two kinds of divorces is on the grounds for divorce. In fault divorces, the spouse blames their partner for the end of the marriage and in no-fault divorces, the idea is to end the marriage instead of blaming either party. It should also be noted that while no-fault divorces are generally easier to get, less expensive, and fall under the purview of divorce laws in every state, the same is not true for fault divorces. The rules and regulations behind initiating and proceeding with a fault divorce depend on the State and can vary between different States.
What are No-fault Grounds for a Divorce?
The most common no-fault grounds for divorce cited by partners who initiate no-fault divorce proceedings are that their marriage ended either due to irreconcilable differences or an irrecoverable breakdown of the marriage. Living separately for a period of time, this time period depending on the rules and regulations related to divorce in different States can also be a reason to initiate a no-fault divorce. Generally, the spouse cannot object to such a divorce as there is no fault to be proven or disproven. While every State allows no-fault divorces, some may ask the divorcing couple to live separately for a period of up to two years before granting them the divorce.
What are the Grounds for a Fault Divorce?
A fault divorce happens when one partner blames their spouse for the deterioration of the marriage. In such a scenario, the spouse who is blaming the partner must prove that their spouse is indeed responsible for creating a situation where the marriage becomes irreconcilable.
State laws vary when it comes to fault divorces. They are more expensive and it is easier to get a no-fault divorce than a fault divorce. However, if the spouse can prove that their partner was indeed responsible for irrecoverable problems in the marriage, then they can obtain a greater amount of alimony or a larger portion of the marital property.
The Grounds for a Fault Divorce include:
- Abandonment or desertion of the spouse for a period of time that is dependant on specific State Laws and can vary between States
- Physical, mental or emotional abuse
- If the wife was pregnant at the time of the marriage and the husband was unaware, then such a marriage can also be annulled
- Incarceration or prison confinement, the length of time of which is dependent on specific State laws and can be different between States
- Substance abuse
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- If the marriage occurred between people who were related to each other
The spouse being brought to Court on the charges of a fault divorce can object to such a divorce. A no-fault vs a fault divorce may both lead to the dissolution of the marriage, but each has certain advantages. The no-fault divorce is less expensive, less time taking and the divorce ends quickly. The fault divorce takes more time, and if the spouse also initiates a counter fault proceeding, then the Court is forced to determine who was less at fault.
There is no need for a strong defense in a no-fault divorce, while there is a need during a fault divorce. Also, unlike a no-fault divorce where the Court asks the divorcing couple to live separately for a while, there is no such need for a mandated separation during a fault divorce.