All states allow married parties to divorce without having to name a specific fault. Many states term such divorces as "irreconcilable differences" or a marriage is "irretrievably broken". However, most states still allow a spouse to name fault when filing for divorce as well. Read on to find out how this affects the divorce process.
What is Meant by Fault?
Only certain pre-defined forms of fault can be cited. You cannot just say that you hate the way your spouse chews their food or that they work too much. While fault can vary by the state, most states allow the citing of only a limited number of faults (and you can usually name only one):
- Abuse or cruelty
Why Cite Fault?
There can be reasons for divorcing by fault rather than going the no-fault route. In most cases, being vindictive and vengeful is not a good enough reason. That is because this type of divorce tends to take longer to be resolved and may cost more money than a no-fault divorce.
In many cases, fault is connected to major divorce issues such as:
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
- Debt and/or marital property divisions
- Spousal support
Whether or not the judge will take the cited faults into consideration when ruling on the above issues depends on too many factors to predict. Speak to your family law attorney and consider what is at stake when taking a fault divorce action.
What Else to Know
This type of divorce is not for those who fail to understand the ramifications. Speak with a divorce lawyer and find out how things could be different with a fault divorce.
- You cannot have a fault divorce without proof of the alleged fault, or the judge will simply throw the divorce case out of court. Many spouses end up hiring a private detective to gain evidence to support the fault allegations.
- When your spouse fights against the allegation, an extended court battle could ensue, wiping out any hoped-for gains. Each moment you spend litigating, the costs of your legal and court fees will rise.
- This type of divorce can leave lasting scars on everyone. Be mindful of the impact on the children of the marriage. It also tends to be extremely stressful for all the parties.
Ask your divorce lawyer about what could happen with a fault divorce as opposed to a no-fault divorce and make the right decision for you.