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NO-FAULT DIVORCE:
Are We Eligible for Uncontested Divorce?

Every state in the United States has some kind of "No Fault" Divorce option (also know as "uncontested divorce" or "dissolution") that allows married couples to obtain a divorce or dissolution without the need for a protracted, prolonged and "hostile" court battle. In most states, the grounds for a "no fault" divorce are "irreconcilable differences" between the two parties (again, some States have different terms for these grounds, but the theory is the same). This means that the parties to the marriage are simply not compatible, there are issues or differences that exist between the spouses that cannot be changed and there is no hope or likelihood that things will change so that the marriage be saved.

The terms "no-fault divorce" and "dissolution" have generally the same meaning - the parties to a marriage ask the court to end the marriage and, if the court finds the request appropriate, the court will issue an order terminating the legal rights of each party with respect to the marriage.

In order to have the best chance of succeeding with the process through the court system, both the husband and wife should agree on ALL of the issues surrounding property division and spousal support (this is why it is referred to as "no fault" - the parties are not claiming one spouse or the other did something wrong nor are the spouses arguing about how property or other rights and responsibilities should be divided; these matters are agreed upon, thereby not finding any fault with one of the spouses). If total agreement is not reached by the parties on all issues, a "no fault" divorce is generally not appropriate and legal advice should be sought.

Below are some requirements that must be met or complied with before a "no fault" divorce can be effectively filed and granted:

* Residency requirements for the state in which the divorce will be filed must be met. Depending upon the state in which the parties reside, the spouses (or one of them) must live in the state where the divorce is filed for a period of six weeks to twelve months. Check your state requirements to determine the appropriate residency requirement.

* Both of the spouses must agree on all aspects and terms of terminating the marriage.

* In most states, the wife must not be pregnant with a child from the husband (although this is not an absolute bar to a no fault divorce in all states).

* Each spouse should fully disclose ALL of their financial interests to the other spouse and each should complete and sign a separation agreement that details how property issues, spousal support and the division of debts will be handled. This separation agreement will then become part of the court's order granting the divorce.

* Both spouses will need to complete the appropriate documents that must be filed with the court to begin the divorce. Each spouse must sign the documents required by the court and, depending on the state and county/parish in which the parties reside, have the documents notarized. In some states, both spouses may be required to appear in court to obtain the final divorce; in other states, one spouse is to appear and in others, there is no requirement that either spouse appear if the paperwork is in order.

* Filing fees and court costs must be paid at the time the divorce papers are filed with the court. These filing fees vary from state-to-state and the clerk of the court where the divorce will be filed can inform you of the amount of such fees.


If your situation meets these guidelines, in most cases you have the ability to file for no-fault divorce.

 


Learn More Want to learn more about No-Fault Divorce?
See our Q & A series on Divorce at 'Ask Standard Legal' >


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DISCLAIMER REGARDING LEGAL ADVICE: None of information contained on this web site is intended to constitute legal or other professional advice, and you should not rely solely on the information contained on the site for making legal decisions. When necessary, you should consult with an attorney for specific advice tailored to your situation.




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