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No-Fault Divorce

No-Fault Divorce

A no-fault divorce is one wherein both the parties involved, seek a divorce on the basis of a simple reason, that of not wanting to remain married anymore. In the following article, we will try and understand this phenomenon better and get to the core of this concept.
Rujuta Borkar
Last Updated: Dec 09, 2017
All those memories you built together, all those experiences you once shared. Now as they wait to be slowly dismantled, stored in the recesses of your mind...then forgotten. For some days they'll make their presence felt - in the corner where he once sat, in the way someone's laughter resembled hers. You'll harden your mind then, stopping it from thinking. Then slowly they'll all fade and the memories will no longer evoke pain.

Any break up, no matter how messy or 'smooth', will lead to its share of turmoil. The emotional attachment that two people develop when in a relationship will ensure it is that way. A divorce is not an everyday affair, and for two people to want to terminate their marriage, it has to mean that they are driven by something intense. Since there can be no action without a cause, for a person to file for divorce, there has to be a major reason; that being the crux of the matter. While there are several causes of divorce which double up as grounds for the same, like infidelity, abuse, insanity, inability to provide sexual gratification or abandonment, there is another category that is called a no-fault divorce. In this following article we will look into the details of what this form of divorce entails and what its prerequisites are.

What is a No-Fault Divorce?

When one spouse (or both) wants to terminate a marriage, he/they must have a strong reason for doing the same. More so over, they have to prove that they have a strong reason for wanting to terminate their marriage. In that manner, a partner has to provide evidence of the wrong that has been done against them and how the other is at fault. Without which, a divorce cannot be granted. However, the laws that guide a no-fault divorce take away this very premise. They state that either partner seeking a divorce can do so on the grounds of a 'no-fault' divorce wherein a reason such as 'irreconcilable differences' which could include 'breakdown in communication' or 'falling out of love' will suffice. In that manner, they do not have to provide a reason for seeking a divorce and neither do they have to prove the allegations that are made which becomes mandatory in other types of divorce.

The passing of this law has made the act of seeking a divorce much simpler and to continue being married, less binding. It allows either partner to seek a divorce without having to establish the grounds of divorce (abuse, infidelity etc.) and therefore it gives them the freedom to leave when they want, without having to account for it. Different states have different rules when it comes to granting a divorce on the basis of this form of divorce. Some states make it mandatory for the couple to live apart for a period of time before granting them the divorce, while other states need them to have been legally separated before granting them the same.

Many believe that this has led to a rise in the divorce rates in the United States, even though the no-fault divorce law was brought into existence to prevent the long drawn process of seeking a divorce, which brought with it several bickering fights between the couple seeking a divorce. There were accusations made and lies told, thus making the process very messy.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

This form of divorce seems to be really popular in the US. with all the states except New York choosing to go in for the same. So also, most couples prefer to go in for this divorce than the other forms. Yet the question that needs to be answered is that - Is this form of divorce really beneficial to all the parties that are affected by it? Namely the partners and the children?

A no-fault divorce makes it easier to leave a marriage, which can work as both a boon and a bane. As a boon, it allows for partners who are subjected to abuse, both physical and mental as well as any other form of torture to leave. On the other hand though, it also gives the same freedom to a partner to leave just because he/she wants to, and it need not be proved in court. This can get to be emotionally stressful and demanding, not only for the partner, but also for the children.

Though a no-fault divorce is not a long drawn process like other forms of divorce are and therefore prevents partners from being in a stressful and emotionally draining situation for long, it is something that can put people in that situation in the first place. The emotional stress of a partner seeking a divorce from you without having to account for it (unilateral divorce) has brought on this reaction.

A court will usually allow custody of the children to the mother which can lead to two possibilities. One, proving that she's unfit for providing proper parental care no longer holds grounds, so the father suffers. Two, if the mother is given the custody of the children and she has no rights to demand for spousal support, the standard of living will be depleted, thus bringing about adverse effects on the children.

A no-fault divorce may have made the seeking of divorce simpler and less stressful, but it has led one to question whether the institution of marriage is a lost cause. It forces us to question our attitude and needs that makes provisions for finding better and quicker ways of terminating a marriage, but not one that upholds the marital vows and chooses to save the same. Is the provision of a no-fault divorce, a boon or a bane? You decide.