When some people head into the divorce process, they either want a fight or fear that their ex may turn things into a fight. From a legal perspective, the odds that a genuine divorce fight is going to break out are pretty low. The system of American divorce law simply isn't built for that kind of thing. Let's examine why that might be the case for you.
No-Fault Divorce Stands in the Way
Over the back half of the 20th century, divorce in the U.S. underwent a complete overhaul. California introduced laws in 1969 that implemented what is known as no-fault divorce, and all the other states followed over the next few decades. In fact, some states went so far as to completely abolish fault divorce.
So what is no-fault divorce? It's a divorce in which either partner unilaterally declares that the troubles in the marriage are irreconcilable. One person files for divorce, and that's it. The court considers and accepts the petition, although some states have cooling-off periods of a couple of months to two years if one partner asks for it.
The implication for you is simple. The court doesn't care what led to the breakdown of the marriage. Fault doesn't matter because the court isn't interested in questions of infidelity or even abuse. Those issues are, at best, questions for another day and another branch of law, such as a criminal complaint related to abuse allegations.
Fighting Is Typically Pointless
Fault divorce is still theoretically possible in the majority of states, but most attorneys tell their clients it's a waste of time. Unless there is a big piece of property or a pile of cash in a bank account somewhere, you probably aren't going to gain or lose anything that wasn't going to come up later in a spousal or child support proceeding.
Notably, there will be a division of property, assets, and liabilities from the marriage. Generally, though, it's best to save your fight for the things you care about. If giving away the appliances wins you some family heirlooms you cherish, then maybe a trip to Lowe's isn't such a bad idea.
In the best-case scenario, both ex-partners see reason. They make arrangements with their attorneys to meet and divide things up, deal with any spousal and child support issues, sort out any child custody questions, and sign documents. Even in a vicious divorce, this is almost always for the best. For more information about divorce law, contact resources like Cooper Levenson Attorneys At Law.