Fault. From an early age, fault is something we either try to identify or something we try to hide from. In many areas of law, such as criminal law and in negligence cases, proving fault is a critical issue. If there is no finding of fault, then there can be no conviction, no award for damages.
People commonly wonder how much of an impact fault has on divorce in the state of California. Technically, the simple answer is none at all. California is a no-fault divorce state. That means neither party has to allege wrongdoing on the part of the other in order for the divorce to be granted- having differences that make your marriage irreparable is enough.
Although fault is legally irrelevant in dissolution cases, assigning blame for the breakdown of a marriage can be understandably important to the parties. For example, if you have proof that your spouse had an affair, you may want to supply this information to the court, thinking that it will somehow aid you in the divorce case or that it will garner sympathy for you as the wronged spouse. Unfortunately, this is generally not the case.
While you might be passionate about giving the court proof of your spouse’s infidelity, an experienced family law attorney will explain that your spouse’s cheating will not likely have an impact on the final divorce agreement. There are exceptions, however. The most common example is if your spouse’s affair significantly impacted the value of your marital estate. If your spouse spent a lot of money on the person he/she was having affair with, it might affect the property division in your favor.
Divorce attorneys must focus on the important facts under the law; however, they are human. They understand the need for unhappily married people to talk about the reasons and behaviors that led them to divorce. Talking to your divorce attorney about these issues is not only acceptable but totally understandable. In some instances , focusing on behavior can be important, especially when it could potentially affect the well-being of minor children.
Therefore, it is critical to share this type of personal information with your lawyer. Divorce is a personal matter and your attorney should be sensitive to that fact while also focusing on the applicable law and how to best represent your interests.