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You may have heard the term no fault divorce, but what does it mean and what does it mean for your divorce?  In California, no fault divorce applies to if you want to finalize your divorce in the state of California.  If you are filing for divorce you should be aware of what that means and how it will affect you.

What is a No-Fault Divorce?

As the term would suggest, a no-fault divorce means that neither party in the marriage takes responsibility for the break up of the marriage. There is no fault given to either spouse, and a reason of fault does not have to be given in order for the divorce to proceed. Divorces with fault often give adultery, cruelty, or desertion as grounds for legal separation and divorce. No-fault divorces on the other hand cite breakdown of the marriage or irreconcilable differences. In short- it is no one’s fault and the marriage just did not work.

No-Fault Divorces State-by-State

California was the first state to adopt the no fault divorce law. All divorces in California today are no fault divorces. On the other side of history, New York only recently put the no-fault law into place in 2010. At the time of this writing, there are 17 states that recognize no fault divorces including California, Florida, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, Kansas, Wisconsin, Washington, Kentucky, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, Missouri, Minnesota, and Michigan. But just because these states allow no fault, they also allow for other reasons, such as mental incompetence, which then has to be proven to the court. In some states, the couple has to live separately for a set amount of time to prove that they truly are unable to save their marriage.

In some states before the adoption of no-fault divorce, couples would set up scenarios wherein one spouse (often the wife) would walk in on a planned tryst between the husband and another woman. They could then cite infidelity, and break up the marriage through those means.

Pro’s of the No-Fault Divorce

Research shows that domestic violence and female suicide drop in states that have adopted no-fault divorce laws. Because the proof of burden is no longer left on one side or the other, the unhappy spouse is free to leave without worrying about evidence or drawn-out litigation.

Critiques of No-Fault Divorce

Some believe that a no-fault divorce makes it too easy to dissolve a marriage. Because these advocates often believe that growing up in a two-parent household is best for the raising of children, making divorce more difficult is therefore better for the structure of the family.

Also, the no-fault divorce becomes problematic when one spouse wishes to leave and the other wishes to stay married. There is no way to prevent a no-fault divorce from going through, if there is no wrong doing that must be proven to the courts. Some couples prefer a divorce with fault in order to prove that one spouse was more responsible for the failure of the marriage, relieving themselves of guilt over failed matrimony.


Finalizing a divorce is never easy, but knowing what to do and your rights will make the process easier.  Minella Law Group can help ease the burdens and unknown variables involved in the process, let us complete the work for you!  For more information or to schedule a consultation, click the button below, or call us at 619-289-7948.  We look forward to helping you.

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