The Grounds for Divorce
Traditionally, divorce always required a showing of fault. The modern trend, however, is toward what is known as “no-fault” divorce. Though all states now offer the option of a no-fault divorce (New York ended its holdout in 2010), there are still a majority of states that allow the filing of a divorce action based on the fault of one of the parties. A party that can successfully show that the other spouse caused the breakup of the marriage may obtain an advantage in custody, support and property determinations.
The no-fault divorce laws vary from state to state, and typically require that you correctly state the language required. The most common verbiage used in no-fault proceedings is one of the following:
Likewise, the grounds for at-fault divorce are different in each state, but may include:
Many states allow for an annulment—different from a divorce—if the parties are too closely related to each other. An annulment assumes that the marriage never legally occurred.
The Different Ways of Finalizing a Divorce
The dissolution of a marriage is either contested or uncontested. If there is any dispute about any outcome of the divorce—custody, visitation, support or property—the divorce is considered to be contested. Each party in a contested divorce will have his or her own council (or will represent themselves). A contested divorce may be resolved by negotiation, mediation or trial.
Because the dissolution of a marriage requires a court order, even when parties have no dispute over any of the issues related to the divorce, one party must still file a complaint (legal petition) for divorce.
The parties may elect to submit all disputes to mediation, where a third party works with them to find and implement mutually agreeable solutions. In a recent development, known as the collaborative divorce approach, the parties agree to resolve all matters without the intervention of the courts. Learn more about the collaborative approach to divorce.
What Is the Potential Civil Liability? Are There Criminal Sanctions? When your loved one dies in a motor vehicle accide... Read More
Does the Length of Your Marriage Affect Your Eligibility for Spousal Support? Though it's less common than it used to b... Read More
What Is Primary Custody? How Do You Get Primary Custody? Can You Change Primary Custody? If you are considering or inv... Read More
How It Works