Fault and No-Fault Divorce: How Do They Differ?

divorce Image Source: https://imagesource.io/images/family-law/

Marriages are those special events where two people come together to start a journey. A journey to spend the rest of their lives together. But sometimes things don’t work out. It generally happens to people who are influenced by the overly romanticized images of married couples in the media. Reality hits them like a ton of bricks when they realize that a happy marriage isn’t all roses and sunshine.

Some have very valid reasons to separate. Issues like adultery or abuse aren’t something that’ll heal in time. That’s why it is necessary to consult experienced divorce lawyers who can help in the separation process. From handling issues like child custody and alimony, these lawyers are experts at getting couples respite from their suffering.

Before you opt for a divorce, it is important to know the types of divorce, especially fault and no-fault divorces.

No-Fault Divorce

Courts don’t allow couples to just quit their marriage. They need to have a valid reason, or ground, in legal terms, to file for divorce. Couples must tell the court what the reason for the divorce is. If that’s not the case, then they must tell the court that the divorce was because of the other’s fault.

However, an exception can be made for no-fault divorces. In this type of divorce, the couple goes with reasons like irreconcilable differences or irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. In layman terms, this is just a way of couples telling the court that their marriage is done and they can’t stand each other anymore. This is the norm for most states.

There are exceptions to this. Some states, like North and South Carolina and Louisiana, ask couples to live separately for a specific period. This separation is important when couples apply for a no-fault divorce. The only other option they have is to prove that their spouse committed an act that counts as misconduct.

Fault Divorce

Fault divorce is the opposite of no-fault divorce. It is when couples apply for a divorce, citing some form of bad behavior as the reason. Actions that count as bad behavior include


Abuse (domestic, sexual, emotional, and substance)


Felony conviction

Insanity that has been declared incurable

The inability to participate in sexual intercourse, which the spouse didn’t know about before the marriage

In fault divorce cases, the spouse claiming to be the victim of misconduct is expected to provide evidence that supports their claim.

Image Source

The Differences

Now that you know what fault and no-fault divorce are, let’s take a look at what separates them.


There is no concept of misconduct in nofault divorces. This means couples can part ways without the hassle of proving the other party engaged in abusive or hurtful behavior. This is not the case with fault divorces.

The Ability to Say No

The court’s decision in a no-fault divorce is final. This means that a spouse cannot object to the request for a divorce from the other party. Courts consider this objection as part of the couples inability to agree to things, or, in other words, an irreconcilable difference, which is valid grounds for a nofault divorce.

The situation is completely different in a fault divorce. Say, for instance, that a spouse files for divorce on grounds of adultery. The onus to provide evidence is on the spouse who made the allegation. The spouse accused of adultery is well within their rights to defend themselves. Common defenses include:

Condonation: A spouse approved the other’s actions

Connivance: A spouse directly set up the situation that resulted in misconduct

Provocation: A spouse was provoked or encouraged to act in a particular way

Collusion: A spouse made up the reason (a fake allegation) to speed up the divorce process

Final Thoughts

A divorce is a difficult process, especially if children are involved. But the difficulty of the process or the presence of children shouldn’t be the reasons for someone to be a part of a marriage. Regardless of their children or societal views on marriage, people must stand up to abuse and fight for their rights.

An experienced divorce lawyer will be of great use in this. They provide all the assistance required for a person to get out of a toxic or failing marriage.

You May Also Like