Adoption 101: The Legal Fundamentals

Adoption 101: The Legal Fundamentals

Grounds And Fault In Divorce

Brayden Miles

When a couple makes plans to part ways, the question may be asked: "what went wrong?". In some states, this question may not mean what you think it means. Fault can be more of a legal issue than a relationship issue when it comes to things like child custody and marital debts. Read to find out more about the issues of grounds and fault in divorce.

Does Fault Matter?

Make no mistake about it — a no-fault divorce can be had in every state now. That begs the question of why fault is an issue at all. Some states give divorcing parties a choice in the type of divorce they want. In some states, you can name grounds for divorce and allegations of fault can influence almost every aspect of a divorce. You can even force a spouse to pay your legal fees if you can show fault, for example.

If a couple decides to go the no-fault route, the main issues that come along with almost all divorces are decided on fairness and equity rather than who cheated on who or who was addicted to drugs. As a refresher, the issues that most divorcing couples must tackle are:

  • Child custody, child support, and visitation (now often known as the parenting plan).
  • Debt divisions and property divisions. In no-fault divorces, the states use either equitable distribution or community property laws to divide debt and property.
  • Spousal support or alimony.

The popularity of no-fault divorce centers on its simplicity and how quickly things are ended. That does not mean there is not a place for divorces that name fault and grounds, however.

Grounds for Fault Divorce

Either party can name specific grounds for divorce and it doesn't necessarily have to be the filing party that does so. You can fight back against fault and grounds, however, and you might need to if a lot is at stake (see above). Some examples of grounds are:

  • Cruelty (emotional, physical, or both).
  • Desertion (one spouse leaves home).
  • Incarceration (in jail or prison).
  • Adultery (having an affair, sexual or otherwise).
  • Impotent (unable to engage in sexual intercourse).

Fighting Back

You can use some of the below to counter any of the above grounds:

  • Denials of wrongdoing
  • You were provoked
  • You were set up or framed for bad behavior
  • Your behavior was condoned (until it wasn't). For example, if the couple agreed to an open marriage but then one party got upset about the affairs.

Divorces that name fault can be lengthy and complicated events. Speak to your divorce lawyer to find out more.


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Adoption 101: The Legal Fundamentals

If you've decided that you want to adopt a child, the first thing you should do is reach out to a family law attorney. While it may not seem logical to get an attorney involved from the start, it's important that you protect yourself legally from the beginning. After making the decision to adopt, I have been through the process several times. I created this site to help other adoptive parents understand what they can expect from the entire process, including the legal support you're likely to need. I hope this information helps you feel more confident in this major life decision.