No Fault Divorce Law & Legal Definition


There are two types of divorce-- fault and no-fault. A fault divorce, (also called a "divorce a vinculo matrimonii" is a judicial termination of a marriage based on marital misconduct or other statutory cause requiring proof in a court of law by the divorcing party that the divorcee had done one of several enumerated things as sufficient grounds for the divorce. Some jurisdictions authorize no-fault divorces, or "divorce a mensa et thoro." The consequences of no-fault divorces vary from state to state. No-fault divorce eliminates the potentially embarrassing and adversarial requirement of stating fault-based grounds by providing for the dissolution of a marriage on a finding that the relationship is no longer viable. Some states still require at least a minimal showing of fault, but no-fault divorce is now the rule in which "incompatibility" is sufficient to grant a divorce.

The most common issues in divorces are division of property, child custody and support, alimony (spousal support), child visitation and attorney's fees. Only state courts have jurisdiction over divorces, so the petitioning or complaining party can only file in the state in which he/she is and has been a resident for a period of time. In most states, the legal process of the divorce procedures take some time, to allow for a chance of reconciliation.