A Law Career

It's All Your Fault: Understanding A Fault-Based Divorce

by Ruby Mckinney

When you're filing for divorce, it's going to be your decision whether you file for a no-fault or a fault-based divorce. Your attorney may suggest one over the other, but understanding what constitutes a fault-based divorce is important before you file. After all, fault-based and no-fault divorces both require that you have some legally valid grounds to file for divorce, but the grounds required for filing a fault-based divorce are limited. Here's a look at what you should know about fault-based divorces before you file.

On What Grounds Can You File a Fault-Based Divorce?

There are only a few situations that qualify for a fault-based divorce. In order to be eligible, you'll have to prove that your spouse did something as defined under your state's fault-based divorce laws. Your divorce attorney can tell you what the specific legal limitations are in your state, but most require that one spouse has either committed adultery, abuse, neglect or abandonment. If you can prove that your spouse has committed a felony, it may also be grounds for a fault-based divorce. You'll just have to be able to prove whichever grounds you opt to file under.

Why Would You Want to File a Fault-Based Divorce?

In some states, there are benefits to filing a fault-based divorce. For example, there may be an exemption to the waiting period for filing divorce papers in your state if the divorce is fault-based. This could allow you to finalize your divorce much faster. Additionally, you might be able to secure more money in the form of alimony or child support if you can prove that your spouse has done something wrong under the fault-based divorce guidelines.

What Should You Consider Before Filing?

It's always in your best interest to have the support of a divorce lawyer before you make any filing decisions. If you're considering a fault-based divorce, that's even more important. Your attorney can help you assess the situation and ensure that your situation qualifies under the state's laws.

Additionally, he or she will help you to build the necessary evidence for the courts to see that your spouse is indeed guilty of the actions you're claiming. Another thing to remember about having an attorney on retainer is that he or she may even think of things that you wouldn't otherwise consider, such as remembering to file a petition for your half of your spouse's retirement benefits, if you qualify.