No-fault divorce essentially means that the parties involved do not have to prove blame or responsibility in order to obtain a divorce. Instead, the court must only find that 1) the relationship is no longer viable, 2) irreconcilable differences have caused an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and 3) there is no reasonable possibility of reconciliation. Previously, many states did not allow no-fault divorce and one spouse would have to prove that the other spouse had done something wrong and was at "fault" for the breakdown of the marriage. Oklahoma in 1953 and California in 1970 were the first to implement no-fault divorce laws, and today, all states have some variation of no-fault divorce.
What Are the PROS of No-Fault Divorce?
1) No-fault divorce allows many people to escape abusive marriages. Without having to point blame, many people can get out of a marriage with less emotional damage and conflict. 2) No-fault divorce is a quicker process, limiting the caseload of family courts and simplifying divorce settlements.
What Are the CONS of No-Fault Divorce?
1) In many cases, only one individual wants to get out of a marriage. No-fault divorce only requires that one of the parties wants a divorce and essentially it puts all the power in one person's hands. If only one partner wanted to claim "irreconcilable differences" in the marriage, they could easily do so. 2) No-fault divorce could potentially increase divorce rates because it makes the process easier. There may be less inclination to work through issues with their spouse. 3) Some spouses feel very wronged and resent the fact that they cannot tell the Court why the marriage ended.
How Long Does it Take to Get a No-Fault Divorce?
Although no-fault divorce makes filing for divorce an easier process, many states still have a waiting period before the dissolution of marriage can become permanent. During this waiting period, the couple can determine whether their marriage is irretrievably broken or if it can be mended. In Colorado, this waiting period is 91 days, but even with no-fault divorce, most divorces take much longer to sort out than the required 91 days because of court dockets, complex financial issues, and parenting disputes.