The difference between a fault and a no fault divorce is the grounds for the divorce. In the first case, the spouse filing the divorce claims the other spouse is responsible for ruining the marriage, while in the other case no blame is placed on either party.

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Possible grounds for fault divorce include:
  • Adultery
  • Desertion or abandonment (specified length of time depends on state)
  • Abuse (physical, emotional or mental cruelty)
  • Incarceration (specified length of time depends on state)
  • Insanity
  • Impotence
  • Substance abuse
  • Infection with a sexually transmitted disease
Possible grounds for no fault divorce include:
  • Living apart for a period of time
  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Irremediable breakdown of marriage
With a fault divorce, no legal separation time is necessary, while with a no fault divorce, certain states may demand an initial period of Separation lasting up to two years.

Some states grant fault divorces, though separation counts as grounds for divorce. Other states only grant no fault divorces (though fault can play a role in custody and support arrangements), and still other states allow you to choose between the two. Be sure to check your state’s laws before filing for divorce.

You can use Rocket Lawyer to Find a Family Lawyer who can help you file for a fault divorce. If you are ready to file for a no fault divorce, you can create your Divorce Worksheet and a Divorce Settlement Agreement online.

Get started Visit our Divorce Center Get divorce documents and ask a lawyer your questions.

Get started Visit our Divorce Center Get divorce documents and ask a lawyer your questions.