Introduction to the No-Fault Divorce
If you were stuck in a lousy marriage at the beginning of the 20th century, your chances of getting a divorce weren’t so great, especially if you were a woman.
Back in those days, you couldn’t just tell a court that you and your husband had grown apart.You had to provide a specific and acceptable reason for seeking the divorce. Among your options were: adultery, impotence, extreme cruelty, desertion, and habitual intemperance, among others.
Unsurprisingly, divorce was a rarity in those days, and women who were able to secure one were often ostracized by the community. As a result, many men and women stayed in lifelong unhappy marriages.
You had to provide a specific and acceptable reason for seeking the divorce. Among your options were: adultery, impotence, extreme cruelty, desertion, and habitual intemperance, among others. Unsurprisingly, divorce was a rarity in those days, and women who were able to secure one were often ostracized by the community. As a result, many men and women stayed in lifelong unhappy marriages.
The Times Are A’ Changing
In 1970, California changed the divorce landscape in the United States by becoming the first state to pass a law that allowed for a “no-fault” divorce. Now, men and women in California didn’t have to prove that their spouse was cruel, unfaithful, or a hopeless alcoholic in order to dissolve a marriage. They could simply cite “irreconcilable differences” (in some states this is known as “irretrievable breakdown,” “incompatible of temperament,” or “incompatibility”) and move on with their lives.
As of 2010, all 50 states offered couples the ability to seek a no-fault divorce. In certain states, such as Louisiana, couples must live apart for a specific period of time before they can seek a no-fault divorce.
No-fault divorces are now the most common type of divorce in the United States. It has played a major role in the dramatic increase in divorce rates between the early 20th century and the present day. This may not seem like a good thing on the surface, but if we think about all the people who were trapped in loveless marriages in the past and unable to get out, the freedom to easily break up an unhappy marriage can create a higher quality of life for both individuals.
No Fault Divorce Saves Money
A no-fault divorce can also save couples money, especially if they choose divorce mediation. If you choose to seek a fault divorce, you will be required to go to court to present evidence that proves your partner’s behavior meets the requirements of a fault divorce. This may require you to hire investigators. If your partner fights your claims, you could rack up significant legal bills.
If you believe that you can prove abuse, in some states you may want to consider a fault divorce as a way to increase the likelihood of earning full custody of your children.
Should You Choose a No-Fault Divorce?
Every woman’s situation and marriage is unique. Before you decide whether you should seek a no-fault divorce or fault divorce, you may want to speak to an experienced divorce attorney in your area. The attorney can explain the specific laws of your state regarding divorce (such as whether you will be required to separate from your spouse for a number of months prior to seeking a no-fault divorce). Another option is to attend a local
Another option is to attend a local Second Saturday Workshop near you. The workshops include presentations by experts, including divorce attorneys, financial advisors, and counselors who can address the financial, emotional, and legal aspects of divorce.