Define a No Fault Divorce

By Beverly Bird

All states now recognize no-fault divorce, but there are different kinds of no-fault grounds. Divorcing this way in Maryland isn't quite as easy as it is in California. The commonality among all jurisdictions is that no-fault means you don't have to point an accusatory finger at your spouse or prove that he did anything wrong in order to be granted a divorce.

All states now recognize no-fault divorce, but there are different kinds of no-fault grounds. Divorcing this way in Maryland isn't quite as easy as it is in California. The commonality among all jurisdictions is that no-fault means you don't have to point an accusatory finger at your spouse or prove that he did anything wrong in order to be granted a divorce.

We Just Don't Get Along

Most states only require that you tell the court in your petition or complaint that you and your spouse are incompatible. Some states hang fancy terms on this concept – in New York, your marriage is "irretrievably broken," whereas in Illinois, you and your spouse have "irreconcilable differences." By any name, you just don't want to be married anymore, and this is usually good enough for the court to end your marriage.

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We've Lived Apart for a Long Time

In some states, no-fault divorce is more complicated. For example, in Maryland and North Carolina, you must demonstrate that your marriage is over by living apart for a full year before you can file. In Illinois, you can say you've got irreconcilable differences, but you must still live separately for a while as well.

"Pure" No-Fault States

Most states also recognize some fault grounds for divorce, but 15 do not -- including California and Florida. In these jurisdictions, you have no choice but to file for divorce on blameless grounds.

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Do You Have to Be Separated for 6 Months to File for a Divorce?

References

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Vermont Divorce Laws When Married in Virginia

In today’s mobile society, it’s not uncommon for spouses to marry in one state then move to another during the marriage. Regardless of whether you married in Virginia -- or any other state -- you can file for a divorce in Vermont and obtain a Vermont divorce decree, as long as you meet certain residency requirements.

A Summary of Types of Divorce

No matter why or how your marriage has ended, most states offer a divorce procedure to accommodate your circumstances, but trying to sort them out and decide which is right for you can be confusing. The terminology can vary from state to state, although the procedures are much the same and some terms are interchangeable.

Can Only One Party File in a No-Fault Divorce?

If spouses always had to file for divorce together, it would most likely drop the divorce rate to something close to zero. Your spouse's cooperation is not required when you file, even if you choose not to cite fault grounds in your divorce complaint or petition. A no-fault divorce is not the same as an uncontested divorce, in which spouses reach an agreement regarding all issues. In this case, they can file a petition together in many states.

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