Understanding No-Fault Divorce

Some states are known as no-fault divorce states. In those states, you do not need to prove that either party did anything wrong in order to file for divorce. You can file simply on the grounds that the marriage is unrecoverable and broken. A divorce that's filed without wrongdoing on either side is a no-fault divorce, and it is often an easier experience in court.

Is Every State A No-Fault Divorce State?

You might wonder if a no-fault divorce has become the standard in court. In fact, that's not entirely the case. There are some states that have transitioned entirely to no-fault divorces, such as Florida. However, there are also states like Pennsylvania in which you can file either one. A divorce lawyer can help you understand your state's guidelines and determine if you can file a fault-based divorce or if your state requires no-fault filing.

Do You Still Need A Lawyer For A No-Fault Divorce?

Despite the fact that there's no assignment of fault in a divorce like this, you should still retain an attorney. Even a no-fault divorce can become contentious if one party is resistant to the settlement agreement or is making the process more difficult than it needs to be. Not only that but there's still the standard legal process to navigate, which is often easier with legal representation as well.

What If One Party Did Do Something Wrong?

If you live in a no-fault divorce state, you might wonder what it means for you if you're the wronged spouse in the situation. If your spouse had an affair, for example, that may be grounds for divorce, but the court doesn't consider that fact when issuing the decree. That's not to say that it doesn't matter.

In fact, in many courts, evidence of infidelity, abuse, or drug addiction (among other wrongdoings) can be considered during the actual settlement process. The judge may consider those actions when deciding how to divide up assets or determining any spousal support. Punitive settlements are possible if your spouse did something wrong, so don't be afraid to document it and bring it up even if it isn't necessary for the divorce itself.

Filing for divorce is not an easy decision to come to in most cases. If you have been struggling with your marriage and are ready to part ways, reach out to a no-fault divorce attorney in your area for guidance about your state's divorce process.