Q: What are “fault divorce” and “no-fault divorce”?
A: In the past, divorce generally had only been granted on the basis of marital misconduct called “fault”: adultery, mental cruelty or another wrongful act. There were also defenses to these faults. In these divorces, the spouse at fault often received a smaller portion of the marital settlement. In a no-fault divorce, the parties merely need to state that the marriage has broken down irretrievably or that the couple has irreconcilable differences. Every state has some form of no-fault divorce, but the particulars of the laws can differ markedly from state to state.