In today’s society, most people want near-immediate gratification in regards to anything they involve themselves in. One thing, however, that has not made life easier for thousands of people is the onset of no-fault divorce laws in the United States. A no-fault divorce can be defined as a type of separation in which neither party is required to prove fault on the part of the other spouse to dissolve the marriage. So just what are some of the main differences between filing for a no-fault and a fault divorce?
Although many states no longer even recognize petitions based on fault, some states require legal grounds for divorce. According to Rowdy Williams, acceptable grounds for divorce can include: If either you or your spouse committed a felony after getting married, If either you or your spouse were considered “incurably insane” for at least two years after getting married, If there was an “irretrievable breakdown” of the union, If either you or your spouse were impotent.
With a fault divorce, the opposing spouse has the option of providing a defense against the allegations, although that often requires time, money, and in many cases, the involvement of witnesses. In cases of abuse, usually the divorce is accompanied with a domestic violence case.
All 50 states throughout the U.S. now offer some form of no-fault divorce. The most common reason for the petition is “irreconcilable differences,” implying that neither party has done anything wrong in the marriage. Although this may seem to be a simpler, faster option in the process of dissolving a marriage, in fact, no-fault divorce has torn more families apart for numerous reasons. A divorcing spouse may not be thinking clearly in the heat of filing for divorce and may be making a decision that is ultimately not in his or her long-term best interest. Because there is no legal recourse, there is also little financial recourse for the opposing spouse, who may not even want the marriage to end. The judge has the right to rule on custody matters, often removing parental rights from the father. One of the biggest criticisms is that no-fault divorce lacks the incentive to work towards resolving conflict or differences in a marriage.
While most couples don’t enter into marriage lightly, some people argue that the institution of no-fault divorce has made it too easy for those same couples to dissolve that bond. One of the most significant arguments against no-fault divorce, however, is the lack of faith in the institution of marriage as a whole, and the belief that the bad greatly outweighs the good in the no-fault divorce trend throughout American culture.