No-Fault vs Fault Divorces
In 1970, California Governor Ronald Reagan signed a law that made the Golden State the first state to adopt a no-fault divorce legal framework. Today, it is possible to file for a no-fault divorce in all 50 states, although some states still offer fault divorces as well. However, there may be requirements to file a no-fault divorce such as a period of physical separation or residency requirements. These no-fault divorce requirements vary state to state. The transition to no-fault divorce made it easier for couples to obtain a divorce, as identifying the fault in a marriage set too high a bar for legal separation. In a divorce no-fault, as its name indicates, does not require the casting of blame on one party as grounds for divorce. Fault divorces require the casting of blame or fault one of the parties as grounds for divorce. Instead of a specific reason which casts blame on one or both spouses, no-fault divorces are often granted due to “irreconcilable differences.” In this way, no-fault divorce eliminates some of the complicated and challenging issues that a fault divorce can bring to the table during divorce proceedings.
Colorado No-Fault Divorce Laws
The state of Colorado is a purely no-fault divorce state additionally referred to as a true no-fault divorce state. A true no-fault divorce state means that divorce no-fault is your only means of obtaining a divorce in said state. The courts will not assign fault to either party in the divorce, but rather, focus on the inability for the two parties to remain married, for example, due to irreconcilable differences or irreparable marriage breakdown.
No-Fault Divorce Child Custody
In a no-fault divorce with children, Coloradans must sign a Parenting Plan form in front of a notary public. Both parties must sign this form, which sets forth a plan for child custody and each parents’ responsibilities in parenting.
No fault divorce, like fault divorce, involves alimony and child support decisions. The courts decide on child support in no-fault divorce as they would in fault divorce. Similarly, fault and no-fault divorce children are placed in the home considered to be in the best interest of the child.
True No-Fault Divorce States
Seventeen states in the U.S. are true “No Fault States” for divorce. In these states, a spouse does not have to cast blame to file for divorce. Wisconsin, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Nebraska, Montana, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Kentucky, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Hawaii, Florida, Colorado, and California are all states with no-fault divorce.
Fault Divorce States
While less common these days, fault divorces (also called at-fault divorces) refer to dissolution proceedings in which one spouse is shown to have committed wrongdoing. Examples of misconduct that can serve as grounds for fault divorce include abuse, adultery, substance abuse, jail time, being unable to have sexual intercourse, and insanity. Since 2010 when New York passed it’s own no-fault divorce law, all states now have the option of no-fault divorce even if the state in question is still referred to as a fault divorce state.
The fact that Colorado primarily grants no-fault divorces does not mean that fault divorces are not possible. Though these instances are rare and limited, fault divorces can be issued in no-fault states, but typically require the assessment of an expert to help determine and prove fault. For example, a spouse seeking a divorce on the grounds of insanity will likely require proof from a medical professional that the other party has been diagnosed with mental illness.
Fault or no-fault, divorce can be costly and stressful. It is helpful to obtain a divorce lawyer to navigate the complicated process for the best possible outcome. Thomas Ramunda of South Denver Law is a divorce and family law attorney that can help you get through the complicated legal divorce process.