In different parts of the United States, there are different rules about who can file for a divorce and why. No-fault divorce is any kind of divorce in which the person who wants to get a divorce doesn’t have to show that the other person did something wrong. No matter who is at fault, all states allow divorces.
When someone decides to file for divorce, “grounds,” or the reason for the divorce, must always be established. Sometimes, it’s also important to say who is “at fault.” People often point to faults like adultery, domestic abuse, drug use, and other wrongdoings.
And while every U.S. state has some kind of “no-fault” grounds for divorce, only the District of Columbia and 17 states are known as “true no-fault” states, which means that neither party has to be at fault and you can leave the marriage without giving a reason. But, like most things, a no-fault divorce has its pros and cons. Before making a decision, it’s important to know what those pros and cons are.
What is no-fault divorce?
In a no-fault divorce, no person has to prove that the other did something wrong for the marriage to end. No-fault divorce laws say that a family court can grant a divorce if either person in the marriage asks for one.
The petitioner doesn’t have to prove that the other person broke the marriage contract in order to get a divorce.
If you meet the residency requirements for divorce, you can file for divorce at any time and for no particular reason. All a person has to do is say that the marriage has broken down in a way that can’t be fixed and can’t be saved.
In practice, the divorce will be granted if one party can prove these two things. One person’s simple testimony about these two things is enough to support a finding and end the marriage. To file for divorce, you must live in the state where you want to file.
Since the 1970s, the number of states that allow divorces for any reason has grown quickly. Some unhappy couples would lie or go from forum to forum to get around their state’s fault-based divorce laws, so the no-fault movement grew as an alternative.
But critics of the pure no-fault movement, in which fault divorce is not an option, have said that no-fault divorce is to blame for many social problems, such as rising divorce rates, more bad behavior in marriages and domestic violence, and the end of the idea of mutual interdependence that used to be at the heart of marriage.
A divorce lawyer can help in settling the divorce for both parties. They can provide proper guidance and support to the concerned party. It is important to consult a lawyer as divorce involves the guidance of the legal process.
They can help in filing divorce wherever you live in the United States and can help in settling disputes. As no-fault divorce cases proliferate. The need for hiring family lawyers and divorce lawyers is also increasing.
How long does a no-fault divorce take?
If the other person doesn’t have any problems with the divorce, it usually takes about two to three months to settle. However, this time frame can change depending on the state and its laws. If the spouse objects or the court wants more paperwork, the case could take longer.
The next steps in court and the timing of a hearing depend on a number of things, such as the number of cases in front of the judge, how quickly you need to split up, and whether or not your spouse has filed any objections.
Pros of no-fault divorce
- The main benefit of a no-fault divorce is that neither party can be blamed during the legal process of getting a divorce. This can reduce conflict that isn’t necessary. Because of this, the old law has been criticized a lot. Most of the time, this kind of conflict doesn’t happen.
People just drift apart or decide they want different things in life. It is hoped that, during divorce proceedings, people won’t waste time arguing about who did what wrong and will instead focus on practical things like how to care for the kids or how to split the money. In a no-fault divorce, children are less likely to hear about who did what to whom and why their parents broke up. This is meant to make what is already a hard time for them a little less painful.
- It also shortens the time you have to wait before you can get a divorce. Under the old law, if neither party was guilty of adultery or acting in an unreasonable way, they had to wait 2 years (with consent) or 5 years (without consent) from the date they separated to file for divorce.
Under the new law, on the other hand, there is no need to wait. This is especially important in cases of domestic abuse because the victim will no longer be stuck in a dangerous marriage. Before, the only thing they could do was make accusations about their behavior that they feared would lead to more abuse.
- Some people also say that the way things are done now encourages couples to focus on the bad parts of their relationship, looking for and putting too much weight on who is at fault. It makes both people want to stay stuck in some of the details of why their relationship ended instead of moving on or finding something they can agree on. Some people have also said that the new system might save some relationships by getting rid of the need to find fault.
- If a couple has kids, getting rid of blame will help them pay attention to their kids. They will be able to avoid fights that aren’t necessary and come up with plans that work for everyone. When parents say bad things about each other in front of their kids, it can hurt them and make parenting even harder. The new “no-fault” divorce law should make it easier for people to work together during a divorce.
Cons of no-fault divorce
- No-fault divorce has some bad points. It can lower the value of marriage vows because it makes divorce much easier. It can make even the most serious, moral, and responsible person want to get married on a whim, since they know they can get out of it at the first sign of trouble.
- When the new law goes into effect, it will be easier to get a divorce. On the one hand, this is good because it makes it easier for people to end their marriages and move on. Before, they might have been afraid of the divorce process because it took too long or they didn’t understand it.
On the other hand, making divorce easier could lead to more divorces if couples are less likely to try to make their relationships work. There is a worry that people will give up on their marriages too quickly. To try to calm these fears, the new law requires an applicant to take 20 weeks to think about what they want.
- The most talked-about and controversial thing about a no-fault divorce is how people feel like they don’t have to take responsibility. When a marriage ends, sometimes one person wants to point the finger at the other.
For example, if they think the breakup was caused by adultery or acting in an unreasonable way. Under the old law, the petitioner could file for divorce on these grounds, which showed that they thought their partner was to blame for the breakup of their marriage. This is not okay with the new law. It’s not clear yet what effect this will have, but some people think it could hurt the feelings of the person getting divorced if they feel like their side of the story wasn’t heard and the process was unfair. There may be a big rise in the number of people with these kinds of feelings who go to therapy for help.
In a no-fault divorce, neither person has to prove that the other did something wrong for the marriage to end. No-fault divorce laws say that if either person in a marriage asks for a divorce, the family court can give it. To get a divorce, the petitioner doesn’t have to show that the other person broke the marriage contract.
If you want a no-fault divorce, you just choose “no fault” as the reason for the marriage when you file for a divorce. Your spouse can’t say that you broke up because of something they did. Just the fact that they don’t want a divorce with you shows that the marriage is broken. You don’t have to show evidence that the marriage can’t be fixed. There’s no need to say what went wrong in the marriage or what one partner did to the other.