Fault and No-Fault Divorce
If you’ve decided the next step in addressing your problematic marriage is getting a divorce, you may be wondering what to do next. However, ending a marriage is not easy, especially when children are involved. Once you have made the decision, you need to know what is involved in the legal process you are facing. You are well-advised to work with a dedicated divorce attorney who will stand by you every step of the way.
No-fault divorce means that you do not need to prove marital fault to obtain a divorce decree. You may have to live apart and at separate dwellings in a separation agreement for at least one year before you can get a divorce. An experienced attorney can prepare a separation agreement that is signed by both spouses when they separate. This agreement addresses issues such as:
- Property and debt division
- Spousal support
- Child custody
- Child support
- Visitation rights
After the separation period, you can file for divorce with the court. Your attorney will prepare and file the paperwork for you in a timely manner. Your attorney will also arrange for your spouse to be served. After service, there is a short waiting period allowing your soon-to-be ex-spouse to respond
Then, there is a hearing, and a judge will have the final say over the terms of the divorce. The judge’s decision makes your settlement agreement (which will possibly be modified by the judge) into a binding legal contract. A no-fault divorce may be a more straightforward process, but it is not for everybody.
Divorces, where there is some blame placed for the dissolution of the marriage, are divorces of fault. A family law attorney can assist with divorces based on the following fault grounds: cruelty, adultery, abandonment, and felony conviction.
Cruelty occurs when one spouse treats the other in such a way that living together and being married was intolerable. In adultery, one spouse has sexual intercourse outside the marriage. In abandonment, one spouse leaves the other with the intention of abandonment and remains away for one year or more. A felony conviction means that one spouse is imprisoned for a year or more. Talk to your divorce attorney about any abusive, cruel, or degrading things your spouse has subjected you to in your marriage. Sometimes, even small things amount to one extremely cruel relationship.
Proving one of the above fault grounds for divorce is helpful because fault is a viable and concrete factor that the court can consider when dividing the marital estate and awarding spousal support and maintenance. Your divorce attorney’s job is to prove that your spouse’s behavior is the fault and the basis for your divorce. Providing proof of fault can mean significantly more money in your pocket once the divorce proceedings have concluded.
Hire an Attorney You Can Trust
Whether you file a fault or no-fault divorce, you’ll want to hire a divorce attorney with the experience necessary to bring your case to the most favorable resolution. Schedule an appointment to discuss your situation with a compassionate legal professional.