Blame and the No-Fault Divorce System

For folks who are angry about how their marriages ended, sitting down with a divorce lawyer can be frustrating. The vast majority of divorces in the modern U.S. occur under the no-fault system. You deserve to know what that means and why it is. Here are four things an attorney would tell you about blame and the no-fault divorce system.

Why Does Divorce Happen This Way?

Fault used to be required in nearly all divorce proceedings. This changed rapidly in the late 1960s when California became the first state in the Union to adopt what is known as a no-fault divorce.

It's worth noting how painfully a purely fault-driven system could be. For example, there were scenarios where two people who both wanted out of the marriage couldn't dissolve it because neither one had done anything wrong.

Likewise, proving fault means taking up a good deal of the court's time unless one party simply admits fault. As you probably know, most people are unlikely to admit fault under emotional circumstances.

What Are the Advantages of the No-Fault Divorce System?

The biggest advantage of the no-fault divorce system is that it only takes one petitioner to get a divorce. In other words, no one can force you to stay married if you don't want to. Your divorce lawyer will file a lawsuit with your county's court system. This petition will state that you believe there are irreconcilable differences.

A judge will put the paperwork in motion, although there may be a processing period built into your state's laws. This period usually goes from a couple of months to a few years depending on where you live. Regardless of the processing period, your divorce will eventually be granted.

When considering the divorce petition, the court pretty much doesn't care why the suit is being filed. This means the judge is under no obligation to listen to complaints about infidelity, abandonment, or even battery. The irreconcilable differences claim is sufficient to end the marriage, even if no one is to blame.

Is a Fault-Based Divorce Still Possible?

A few states have abolished fault entirely, but most still hold some possibility for suing on the basis of fault. Generally, unless you're fighting over a large amount of money, a divorce lawyer will tell you to skip this process as it is usually long and drawn out. 

If you're ready for a divorce, contact a divorce lawyer near you to get help throughout the process.