Whats the news today-

What is a “fault” divorce?

July 16, 2016 Our Blog

You may have heard of a “no fault” divorce, but have you heard of a fault divorce? A fault divorce is when one party blames the other for causing the divorce.

History of Fault Divorces

In the past, couples weren’t allowed to divorce each other simply because they wanted to. One party had to have done something bad that made the other party want to end the marriage.

Modern Fault Divorces

Today, every state in the U.S. recognizes a no fault divorce. Some states are even getting rid of fault divorces. However, fault divorces still do exist. In order for a divorce to be a fault divorce, one party has to allege fault by the other party.

Fault Divorce Grounds

Each state creates its own divorce rules, including the list of issues that may be considered grounds for a fault divorce. These issues include:

• Cruelty
• Homosexuality
• Adultery
• Felony
• Sexual incompatibility
• Mental instability

Depending on the state, there could also be other grounds for divorce. Whatever grounds you decide to say lead to the divorce, it’s necessary for you to have proof. Let’s say you want to divorce your husband because you feel that your spouse is cheating. You’ll need more than a hunch; you’ll need real proof. The court will need to review evidence, such as photos of your spouse with the other person or witnesses that saw them spending time together.

Benefits of a Fault Divorce

If you can prove your spouse’s fault and you also live in a state that recognizes a fault divorce, you could benefit from the filing. Sometimes, a fault divorce can go through quicker than a no fault divorce. Fault may also be considered when assets and spousal support is being decided upon.

Fault Defenses

While defenses will vary from case to case, here’s a short list of some of the most common fault defenses:

• Connivance: This is when adultery has taken place but one spouse knew about the adultery and allowed it to continue. In this case, one party cannot use adultery against the other.

• Recrimination: This is when both parties are doing the same thing. For example, if one spouse accuses the other of adultery but they are also committing adultery themselves, this cannot be used as a fault.

• Collusion: This is when both spouses agree to make up a story of fault in order to get a fault divorce. While this is a special case, it’s not uncommon.

• Condonation: This is when the fault was accepted and forgiven. For example, if one spouse committed adultery and the other spouse forgave them and moved past it, this cannot be used as a fault in divorce.

• Provocation: This is when one spouse led the other into the act that’s considered a fault.

If you want to defend yourself against a fault divorce, it’s going to be similar to defending yourself against another type of claim. You’ll want to gather witnesses and other proof in your defense. You’ll need to prove that the fault your spouse is trying to prove is false.

Sometimes in a fault divorce, both parties claim that the other one is at fault. This makes the case less of a trial and more like meditation. The judge will decide which party has the stronger case. If you’re in the midst of a fault divorce, you’ll want to find legal representation, particularly if your spouse has an attorney. Contact our New York divorce attorneys today.

The world of divorce law is complicated. You may have heard about “no fault” divorces, as they’re the most common type of divorce filed in today’s modern world. But have you ever heard about a fault divorce? Fault divorces are the opposite of no fault divorces. They’re exactly what they sound like. This divorce proceeding occurs when one party finds the other party at fault for the divorce. In short, one spouse blames the other for breaking down their marriage.

The History of Fault Divorce

Historically, marriage has been an institution that has undergone many different definition changes. Couples couldn’t end their marriages simply because they didn’t want to be in the relationship anymore. A marriage was considered a commitment, and people had to stick out that commitment even if they were miserable. The exception was if one spouse had done something to betray the other, something that broke down the trust and foundation of the overall marriage.

No fault divorce is a relatively new concept. Though it’s only been popular for a few decades, the concept of no fault divorce has far eclipsed fault divorces. Sometimes marriages break down because people are too different and don’t wish to reconcile that. When no party is at fault for the fraying of the relationship, the divorce is called a “no fault” divorce.

Fault Divorce in the Modern World

Nowadays, the cultural occurrence of divorce has shifted entirely. Rather than fault divorces being the only type of divorce allowed, they tend to be the rare exception to the rule. Every single state in the United States recognizes no fault divorce. But not every state recognizes fault divorces. Some states have done away with the concept of a fault divorce entirely.

With that said, fault divorces still exist, even if they’re rarer than they used to be. For a divorce to be filed as a fault case, the party who files the papers must allege that the other party has done them wrong. The divorce papers are technically a lawsuit, but you’re suing to dissolve your marriage.

Grounds for Fault Divorce

Every state has individual rules about divorces and separations. In states where fault divorces still exist, there are different potential reasons for the divorce. Some have been used historically but would have a hard time holding up in court today.

One of the main issues that causes a fault divorce is cruelty or abuse. If one spouse has caused psychological, emotional, physical, or sexual harm to the other, there are grounds for a fault divorce. This type of divorce will often proceed like a lawsuit. It can be contentious, so it’s important to get a divorce lawyer who is skilled at negotiating.

Another cause that’s historically been cited is homosexuality. If a person married someone who couldn’t love them back, and their spouse didn’t disclose this, that can be grounds for a fault divorce in some states.

Adultery is another one of the most common causes of a fault divorce. Adultery involves one spouse betraying the other by breaking the vows they’ve made for their marriage.

If one spouse commits a felony, this is also grounds for a fault divorce in certain states. It can be considered a betrayal of the pact the marriage was built on.

Mental instability may also be grounds for fault divorce. Most commonly in today’s world, “mental instability” refers to a substance use disorder. If the mentally ill spouse is seeking mental health treatment, they may have grounds to contest the fault clause of the divorce.

If you want to file a fault divorce, you need to provide proof that your spouse has created adequate grounds. You’ll need to research the specific laws about fault divorces in your state to make sure your grounds apply.

Fault Divorce Benefits

When you provide adequate proof that your spouse is at fault, and your state recognizes fault divorces, the filing could have benefits for you. Fault divorces are sometimes processed more quickly than no fault divorces. The fault may also be taken into account during the allocation of assets and spousal support.

Defenses for Fault

If adultery has taken place, but the filing spouse knew about the adultery and let it go on, adultery can’t be cited as the grounds.

If both spouses have committed the same betrayal against each other, neither can be found more guilty than the other.

Collusion occurs when spouses work together to fabricate a story so they can get a fault divorce.

What is a divorce?

When two people are legally married and reside in the United States, the only ways that their bonds of matrimony can be terminated are through death, annulment or divorce. The only way people can be granted an annulment or divorce is through a court of law. Some states might distinguish between a divorce and a dissolution of marriage, but the common denominator is that once a divorce decree or judgment for dissolution of marriage is entered, the parties are no longer married.

How is the divorce process commenced?
Since a person who wants out of a marriage is going to ask a court for a divorce, he or she must file a pleading called a complaint for divorce or a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court. That’s ordinarily served on the other party along with a summons. The summons advises the recipient that divorce proceedings have been filed, and that if he or she fails to file appropriate responsive documents by a specified date, a judgment by default might be entered. It also tells the spouse where to file his or her papers.

What if I can’t find my spouse?
If you’ve made due inquiry and diligent efforts, but you still can’t locate your spouse, you can file your affidavit as to those facts, and you can obtain service by publication. This is done by publishing appropriate notice of the proceeding for a consecutive number of weeks in a newspaper that’s regularly published in your county.

Personal service vs. publication notice
Assuming that you’re able have your spouse personally served, all aspects of divorce or dissolution can be decided. Those include but aren’t limited to:

If you’ve only published notice of the proceeding, the court doesn’t have personal jurisdiction over your spouse. The general rule with publication notice is that the court can only act on the marriage and grant a divorce. The other issues that are usually ruled upon when there’s personal service are reserved.

Fault and no-fault divorce
In distinguishing between a divorce and a dissolution of marriage, some states might want proof of fault for a divorce and no proof of fault for a dissolution. Fault might involve:

  • Physical cruelty
  • Severe and repeated mental cruelty
  • Alcoholism or drug addiction
  • Passing a sexually transmitted disease
  • Desertion

If the case is a no-fault divorce, grounds aren’t required. The spouse filing for the divorce need only state facts to the effect that:

  • Irreconcilable differences caused an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
  • The parties have lived separate and apart for a specified period of time
  • Efforts at reconciliation have failed and will continue to fail
  • The marriage of the parties is dead

If there was personal service, the testifying spouse need only testify as to grounds or irreconcilable differences and any marital settlement agreement of the parties. The judge will review it, and he or she will almost always approve it. Even oral settlements can be admissible. A judge might even enter the divorce decree or judgment for dissolution of marriage based on the pleadings and any other agreements without the movant’s presence, so long as his or her attorney appears.

None of this involves just filling in the blanks on some forms and getting a court date. The court will make rulings that can follow you for life. Talk with us if you’re thinking about a divorce. You’ll set straight answers, and we’ll protect rights that you never even knew that you had. Contact our NY divorce lawyers today!

Divorce lawyers are constantly being asked questions regarding divorce. One common question is what divorce actually is. Divorce is a fairly simple concept with a long, complex legal history. When a couple divorces, they are legally ending their marriage in the eyes of the court. Both parties in a divorced couple are free to live their own lives and remarry if they so choose.

To understand how divorce legally functions, it’s important to understand how marriage functions as well. As far as the court is concerned, marriage is a legally binding contract between two people. A divorce occurs when those people decide they wish to end this binding contract. As with most broken contracts, terms for the termination must be negotiated between both parties.

Couples who decide they don’t want to continue living together will often separate. Separation and divorce are not the same thing. A separation indicates that you are no longer committed to your spouse. Legally, though, you are still married to them. This means that you cannot legally remarry. There may also be implications about your financial status.

Legally married couples continue to have obligations to each other, regardless of whether they’ve ended their relationship. Divorce legally dissolves a marriage and frees spouses of their obligations to each other. There will sometimes be terms in the divorce that define new obligations, like child support and spousal support.

To get divorced, a couple must go through the legal process of filing paperwork, signing contracts, and filling out all other required documentation to prove they no longer want to be married.

Divorce is a topic with many associated terms that couples may want clarification on. One of these terms is legal separation. A legal separation is different from a divorce, but more legally binding than an informal separation.

With an informal separation, a couple decides to stop living together. They may make arrangements on their own regarding financial support and the division of assets. However, these decisions are not legally binding. One spouse can renege on their obligations without legal consequences.

A formal separation proceeding is very similar to a divorce. This is a legal process handled through the court. Both parties and their attorneys lay out terms for all relevant details of the marriage. This may include custody arrangements, financial support, and asset division. The main difference is that the marriage does not end when the separation is complete. The couple is still married, but they no longer share a life.

There are a few reasons couples may choose to separate rather than divorce. Some people have religious views that prevent a divorce. Others may not want to end their marriage because they still have hope of reconciliation.

In some states, a married couple is required to file a legal separation agreement before they can file for divorce. If you aren’t sure what legal procedures are required in your state, you should get in contact with an experienced divorce attorney who can explain your options.

Another common term regarding divorces is “no-fault divorce.” A no-fault divorce is the most common kind of divorce in today’s modern world. The other possible type of divorce is a “fault” divorce.

No-fault divorce proceedings are much simpler than fault divorces. The term means that no specific party was at fault for the marriage’s failure. Couples who file no-fault divorces don’t need any reasoning beyond “irreconcilable differences.” Some individuals prefer to get the reason for their divorce on paper and hold the other party accountable for wrongdoing. When this is the case, they’ll file a fault divorce instead.

It’s not difficult to file for divorce. However, the procedures do differ slightly from state to state. In addition, the process can often be time-consuming. This is especially true if your spouse wishes to contest the divorce or argue during negotiations. For a smooth divorce, it’s best for both spouses to work constructively to come up with the best terms for everyone.

No matter what state you live in, your divorce will involve a negotiation of your marital property. Your shared assets must be divided between the spouses. You’ll also need to allocate debts and determine other financial responsibilities. If you have children together, custody arrangements will also be part of the divorce agreement.

In almost every court, you and your spouse must make an effort to solve your marital issues before filing for divorce. A couple must provide proof that their marriage will not work anymore. Couples may go to counseling before they finally file for divorce.



Spodek Law Group have offered me excellent support and advice thru a very difficult time. I feel I've dealt with someone who truly cares and wants the best outcome for you and yours. I'm extremely grateful for all the help Spodek Law Group has offered me. I can't recommend them enough.

~ David Bruce

Spodek Law Group was incredibly professional and has given me the best advice I could wish for. They had been helpful and empathetic to my stressful situation. Would highly recommend Spodek Law Group to anyone I meet.

~ Rowlin Garcia

Best service I ever had. Todd is absolutely class personified. You are in the safest hands with spodek. They have their clients interest in mind.

~ Francis Anim

Spodek Law Group

White Glove Service

Our divorce lawyers provide superior service, and results, with a white glove touch that few others can deliver.

Get In Touch

Schedule Your Consultation

Los Angeles

555 W 5th St 35th floor, Los Angeles, CA 90013


get directions


35-37 36th St, 2nd Floor Astoria, NY 11106


get directions


85 Broad St 30th Floor, New York, NY 10004


get directions


195 Montague St., 14th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201


get directions

Call Us