Physical and mental abuse is reported as the main cause for divorce, in 5.8 per cent of the divorce cases in the U.S., according to a paper published by Penn State University. You can seek a fault divorce on the grounds of mental abuse or adultery. Alternatively, you can opt for a no-fault divorce in case you feel that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences that often lead to clashes in the family. The legal procedure, time, cost and paperwork involved are different for each type of divorce.
The common grounds for fault divorce include cruelty, physical or mental abuse, adultery, abandonment, substance abuse, financial instability, impotency or mental illness. When one spouse is at fault, then the other can be granted a divorce. The victimised spouse in conflicted marriages is entitled to greater alimony and share in marital property. However, when both the spouses are at fault, then based on the theory of comparative rectitude, the person who has committed lesser faults is granted a divorce. Fault divorces are given priority in family courts and the cases are attended fast.
Many married couples opt for separation when they discover personality problems, incompatibility, communication problems, or lack of love. There can sometimes be absolutely no grounds for a no-fault divorce. The spouse seeking divorce need not prove faults like physical or mental abuse in his partner. No-fault divorces are much slower than fault divorces because some states require the couple to live separately for few months before they are granted a no-fault divorce.
All divorce cases must undergo legal proceedings at family courts. However, not all divorce cases require the applicants to appear in the court. Only if you are unable to come to an agreement with your spouse on issues concerning separation, should you opt for a contested divorce. The judge of the family court examines and approves the marital assets and debts division, as well as child custody and alimony details if all the terms and conditions are in favour of both the spouses.
If both the spouses come to a mutual agreement and opt for an uncontested divorce, they may not need to appear in court or face the trial. They need to complete the divorce papers and sign the agreement for marital settlement. They could do it themselves or hire a paralegal to help them with the paperwork. They may not even need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce, except for reviewing the paperwork. Uncontested divorces are therefore not too expensive.
Although it is not possible to stop granting of a no-fault divorce, a spouse charged with faults like physical or mental abuse or adultery can prevent the grant of a fault divorce. For instance, a spouse charged with abandonment may claim that he was provoked by his spouse to take that step. Similarly, a spouse charged with adultery may claim that his spouse connived and facilitated his act by setting up the plot or that his spouse condoned and supported his actions.
- Penn State University: People's Reasons for Divorcing
- Nolo: No Fault Divorce Vs. Fault Divorce FAQ--What is a "fault" divorce
- Nolo: No Fault Divorce Vs. Fault Divorce FAQ--What is a "no fault" divorce
- "Nolo's Essential Guide to Divorce"; Attorney Emily Doskow; 2008
- Nolo: No Fault Divorce Vs. Fault Divorce FAQ Can a spouse prevent a court from granting a divorce