July 17, 2010

A Look at No Fault Divorce

Posted in Divorce tagged at 11:57 am by demetriagraves

California introduced the “no-fault” divorce over forty years ago and currently forty-nine of our fifty states have “no-fault” divorce laws. New York state is the only state that hasn’t introduced the “no-fault” divorce, though currently a no-fault bill is being reviewed and New York may soon follow suit with the rest of the country. As a consequence of not having access to no-fault divorce, New York has a history of having  many of the messiest and costliest divorces in the country.

No-fault can be a misnomer. In every divorce, someone is often at fault. Often it’s both parties, to a greater or lesser degree. Let’s define “no-fault”, a number of the clients that I work with as a family law attorney don’t seem to understand what no fault means and often it’s the objective of either one or both of the parties to lay as much blame on the other party as possible, which is counter-productive. Feeling compelled to air differences in public and point out the faults of one’s soon to be ex-spouse does everyone a disservice, especially if you have children who can be profoundly affected by seeing their parents at war. Bottom line is it will also cost more money if you can’t rapidly come to some agreement on how you will move on with your lives separately.

Dictionary.com defines “ no fault” as, “pertaining to, or designating a divorce in which there is no attempt or need to hold either party responsible for the breakup.”

So as you can see from the definition above there’s no need to hold either party responsible for the break-up of the marriage, regardless of whether or not someone really was at fault. My focus as a family law attorney is to get both parties to rapidly agree on things like property division and spousal support. Plus custody, visitation and child support where there are children involved.

The longer it takes to sort out these fundamentals the more painful, lengthy and costly your divorce will be. While no divorce is ever pain-free, focusing on proving fault tends to escalate conflict and will make the process more expensive and time consuming. If your marriage doesn’t work out and you find yourself heading toward divorce, it’s important that both parties try to focus on  being civil about the break-up, especially if there are children involved.

My focus as a family law attorney is to get agreements in place as soon as possible, so that your divorce is as smooth as possible and both parties can move on with their lives and make a fresh start. There’s no need to prolong the agony of divorce by trying to prove who is at fault when we have no fault divorce.

As a California family law attorney I offer a free confidential initial consultation where you can get your questions answered and my goal is to help you get your life back on track as rapidly as possible, if divorce is on the horizon. Even though all divorce is unpleasant and it’s often painful, it’s important to stay focused on the big picture, which is getting your divorce finalized as quickly and cost-effectively as possible, so that you can move on and get a fresh start.


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