Until relatively recently, divorces in many U.S. jurisdictions needed fault. In other words, you would have had to prove that there was some kind of reason you wanted a divorce in most cases.

Most contemporary divorces do not use any type of specific problem as their bases. Instead, you have something that family law attorneys call a no-fault divorce.

No-fault basis for divorce

As explained by the Judicial Branch of California, you may divorce your spouse or a domestic partner without claiming any specific type of fault. The only requirement is that one of you would have to claim that you can no longer get along.

In fact, you cannot use fault as the grounds of a divorce in California. You can only split because of irreconcilable differences.

Role of fault

However, there is no denying that you might want to divorce for a specific reason: because of your spouse’s adultery, for example. You could incorporate this into your divorce agreement in many ways. One common example is having the cheating partner pay for any expenses related to the affair.

Cooperation regardless of blame

Although harmony is difficult to achieve during divorce, you can probably work together with your spouse to a certain degree. Negotiation, mediation and other types of alternative dispute resolution are typically more efficient and achieve similar, if not identical, results.

Emotions run high, and it is completely natural to want to get even. With the right deal, you can probably do that. However, getting justice is often enough — nobody wins when both parties are at each other’s throats. In other words, focusing on the future of your family by minimizing conflict is typically more constructive than trying to get revenge for something that has happened.

Court attitudes toward fault

Divorce is a new type of contract between you and your former spouse that defines your relationship in the future. It is not and cannot act as a form of punishment. Although you should fight for what you deserve, the court tends to frown on any attempt to use the agreement to gain an advantage.

 

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