What Does a No-Fault Divorce Mean?
Divorce and marriage law can be complicated. There are many terms that can be difficult to understand and different types of divorce that exist. Read on to learn more about what a no-fault divorce really is and how to properly file for divorce in Phoenix, Arizona with the help of a talented divorce lawyer.
No-Fault divorce states and the definition of no-fault divorce
Phoenix is considered a no-fault divorce state. A no-fault divorce is a concept that applies to several different aspects of divorce cases in Phoenix:
Dissolution of Marriage
No-fault divorce basically means that a person does not need to prove that their spouse has done something wrong within the marriage. In some places, one cannot file for divorce unless it can be proven that the other person has done something wrong. In many places, one party would have to prove that the offending party cheated on them or had a drinking problem. In Phoenix, if either person in the marriage believes that their partnership is irretrievably broken, it is considered sufficient enough to qualify a marriage for divorce. In fact, such accusations are not considered in the Phoenix divorce court. All a court wants to know is that at least one party believes the marriage should be ended.
Resolution of finances
The second place where no-fault divorce concepts come into play is when it comes to resolving financial matters, such as spousal maintenance, division of assets and debts, and child support payments. If a married person had an affair during the marriage, it will have zero impact on the ultimate decision of whether or not they receive spousal maintenance. The entitlement to, duration of, or amount of spousal maintenance payments will have nothing to do with the poor decisions of the person seeking spousal maintenance. Child support, which is governed by the Phoenix Child Support Guidelines, is calculated based on the parents’ incomes and other financial facts. Child support is also based on home much time parents spent with the child. The marital conduct of the divorcing couple does not affect this process. When it comes to the division of assets, the choices and conducts of the divorcing party have nothing to do with how assets are split up. To quote Phoenix law, the court “shall divide the community property equitably, without regard to marital misconduct.” (25-318.A) One person will not receive more assets because the offending person cheated on them.
Resolution of Child Legal Decisions and Issues
Lastly, no-fault divorces laws apply to determine “child legal decision making”, formerly known as “legal custody”, as well as management of time spent with the child. A person’s poor choices in a marriage do not affect the ultimate decision of splitting custody. However, things done within a marriage may also bleed over into the domestic life of the child, and such things will be considered. For example, extreme domestic abuse towards a wife in a marriage perpetrated by the husband will be considered when it comes to determining the child’s well being and whether or not the husband is safe for the child to be around. However, simply cheating on one’s wife will not be considered when it comes to child custody and a divorce lawyer will not bring it up in court.
No-fault divorce exceptions
There are some exceptions when it comes to no-fault divorce. There is some poor conduct that can be used in court to determine legal decision making and parenting time issues. As stated above, domestic abuse will be considered when it comes to protecting the welfare of a child. Another exception to no-fault rules in Phoenix pertain to “covenant marriages”. A covenant marriage is similar to regular marriages, except in a covenant marriage the spouses have undergone marriage counseling that is legally identified before being married to strengthen their relationship. In a covenant marriage, a fault-based divorce can occur and offending behavior and actions can be considered in divorce court.
Why does no-fault divorce exist?
Arguably, no-fault divorce laws exist to keep things “fair”. Its purpose lies in making sure that emotional relationship problems do not get in the way of fairly splitting finances and assets. No-fault divorce laws also exist to cut down on long vicious court battles and result in shorter court proceedings and less legal fees. It also reduces how many fabricated slanderous statements are used to squeeze more money out of the other party and also allows more honest as well as personal privacy in the courtroom.
Many people, however, believe that no-fault divorce laws are bad. Which is pretty understandable. Some cons of no-fault divorces include a lack of understanding of the nature of marriage, unfair equitable allocation of marital resources and assets, and a clear undermining of how human and emotional the institution of marriage actually is. No-fault divorce laws can also complicate already complicated child custody decisions.
I need help with my divorce. Who can I call?
AZ Family Law Lawyers, PLLC is a professional limited liability company based in Arizona that proudly features a team of talented divorce lawyers that are ready to help you get through your divorce smoothly. Nobody really looks forward to or wants to file for divorce. Going through a divorce is an emotionally draining experience, but you do not have to go through it alone and without help. The attorneys at AZ Family Law Lawyers, PLLC are experienced in marital and divorce law and will work hard to help you protect your assets and get what you deserve out of your divorce. Contact AZ Family Law Lawyers, PLLC today to learn more about how we can help you.
Written by: Candace Kallen