Fault grounds in divorce/what are they? What are the ramifications of an at-fault divorce?

Although many states have adopted a no-fault divorce policy, giving couples the option to cite benign causes for the separation, sometimes it is the best or most beneficial option for one of the parties to claim fault against the other. According to Houston law firm Holmes, Diggs & Sadler, this status can strongly sway rulings on child support, child custody, property division, and alimony payments.

An at-fault divorce requires the plaintiff to have grounds for the divorce and provide proof that their claims are well founded. Grounds for at-fault divorce include emotional or physical cruelty, desertion, imprisonment, and adultery.
Despite the possible benefit of the court ruling in the favor of the plaintiff, filing an at-fault divorce is very often more expensive and more time-consuming than a no-fault divorce. An at-fault divorce, by its very nature, is often contested by the defendant and requires the couple to go to court. In addition, if there are children involved, the process of a court-run divorce can become emotionally taxing and very strenuous on the entire family.

Although plaintiffs may be able to pull up proof of the defendant’s faults, the defendant also has means to defend themselves. To counter accusations of fault from a spouse, defenses against divorce include:

  • Collusion, which is an agreement between the two parties to present a fraudulent scenario to be eligible for divorce. This was more common when no-fault divorces were not available.
  • Condonation, which is when a couple has reconciled after a transgression, but files for divorce based on that transgression anyway.
  • Connivance, which is the claim that permission of the plaintiff was given to the defendant to commit an offense. This defense is most commonly used in defense of adultery.
  • Recrimination, which is the barring of divorce from a couple in which both parties have committed an offense. If this occurs, many couples go on to file for no-fault divorce.
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Types of Divorce

Often times, couples reach a point in their marriage where they face difficulty or challenges. Some couples pursue marriage counseling at these times, and some couple realize at this point that they would be happier leading their lives separately from each other. In these cases, all spouses should have the option of a quick divorce with as little stress as possible. While we think of divorce as a singular concept, it is a nuanced process that has many different avenues through which it can be pursued.

According to the website of Alexander & Associates there are many types of divorce couples can file for, including: contested divorce, uncontested divorce, mediated divorce, collaborative divorce, and simplified divorce

In a contested divorce, spouses are unable to reach an agreement about the divorce or certain terms of the divorce. In these cases, legal intervention is often required to come to a compromise that is satisfactory to both parties. Uncontested divorces make up a majority of divorces in the United States. In these cases, both spouses agree to the terms outlined in the divorce and the separation can proceed without argument. Legal counsel is still recommended in this process to help with the extensive paperwork required in any divorce proceeding.

Mediated divorce involves the inclusion of an unbiased third party to mediate the negotiation of the divorce terms, and avoid further conflict between couple who have disagreements. Collaborative divorce does not take place inside the courtroom. It is handled outside so that the process can be simplified and expedited. Simplified divorce is a divorce without the use of attorneys. However, the consultation of a legal professional can still be very helpful in these cases.

Divorces can be complex and stressful processes. It is very important to have trusted legal representation in these trying times, to avoid further difficulty for couples and their families. Children especially are important to remember if involved, decisions should always be made with them in mind.

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