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What Is No-Fault Divorce?

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The concept of no-fault divorce has made it easier for couples to end their marriage. Prior to the existence of no-fault divorce laws, a person was required to prove his or her spouse had done something to cause the breakdown of the marriage. Actions such as abuse, adultery, confinement, lack of intimacy, or abandonment were required to establish grounds for divorce or a court would not permit the couple to divorce.

No-fault divorce makes it possible for couples to claim irreconcilable differences when requesting a divorce. If either spouse decides he or she wants to end the marriage for no specific reason, it is possible to file for and be granted a divorce. There are benefits to the shift in divorce laws, but critics believe the option of no-fault divorce is why the divorce rate in the country has increased.

What are the benefits of no-fault divorce?

• Decreased instances of domestic violence
• Reduced conflict during the divorce process
• Reduction in the caseload in the family court system
• Reduced length of time it takes to finalize a divorce
• Settlements not based on what someone did wrong, but rather the needs of the spouses and children

Though most people approve of or are indifferent to no-fault divorce, there is a downside. Some of the negative aspects include:

• The majority of no-fault divorces are initiated by only one spouse. In many instances, the other spouse would rather stay married, but no longer has the ability to prevent divorce.
• The priority of family court has changed from preserving marriage to making the divorce process as efficient as possible.
• No-fault divorce has given greater control to family court judges to make decisions about spousal support, custody of children, and division of marital assets.
• Many people believe no-fault divorce has caused society to value marriage less.

The argument against no-fault divorce is not whether or not it makes divorce easier, but whether or not the divorce process should be easier. Some believe getting out of a marriage should be as inconvenient as possible.

Regardless of the criticism, no-fault divorce is an option for spouses ready to end their marriage. No-fault divorce can make the process easier on everyone in the family, including children. For some, no-fault divorce means co-parenting is easier because there is less contention during the divorce process. Likewise, children are not forced to live in a home in which parents are no longer able to communicate or get along.

If you believe divorce is in your future and you would like to discuss your legal options, contact Michele Cline to schedule a consultation.

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