What does a No-Fault divorce mean?
No-fault divorce is a divorce based on the parties’ irremediable or irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or irreconcilable differences, and it does not require proof that one party was at fault for the marriage’s failure.
Today, all states allow no-fault divorce, but roughly two-thirds of the states also allow couples to divorce on fault grounds. In addition to obtaining a divorce, some states allow courts to consider fault when dividing property, awarding alimony, or determining child custody.
Arizona is a no-fault divorce state. In other words, every divorce in Arizona is a no-fault divorce. Each one!
When people ask us for this, they frequently mean they want an uncontested divorce. We believe the confusion stems from the fact that this type of divorce is also known as a “default divorce.” In a default divorce, one party (the “petitioner”) serves papers on the other. If the opposing party (the “respondent”) does not contest, the petitioner wins by default. The other party may not contest because they agree, or they may disagree but fail to file a response within the court’s 20-day deadline. Out-of-state respondents have 30 days.)
Because the spouses do not need to prove marital misconduct for the court to grant the divorce, a no-fault divorce is less expensive and does not take time than a fault-based divorce.
The court, however, never assigns blame to either party because Arizona is a no-fault divorce state. In other words, once you are in court, the judge will not hear your reasons for divorce. We can certainly understand how an affair or other heinous act would make you believe you are entitled to additional compensation. That is, in fact, the case in some states.
Marriage dissolution in a Covenant Marriage
Although Arizona is a no-fault state in terms of having to prove grounds to file for divorce, this does not mean that fault does not play a role in a divorce. Many issues, particularly those involving children, remain relevant in an Arizona divorce case, including:
- Domestic Violence
- Child Abuse
- Waste Claims
- Mental health issues
- Alcohol and drugs abuse