Types of Divorce
“Fault” Divorce is when a spouse has been violent or abusive, committed adultery, desertion, severe drug addiction, or other significant actions that harmed the marriage. This type of divorce does not have a required period of separation, and if the fault can be proven, the spouse that is filing for divorce or given “comparative rectitude” may receive a better settlement. Some states don’t recognize fault divorce.
“No-Fault” Divorce doesn’t require one spouse to blame the other spouse for the divorce. They simply choose a state-recognized reason. Common reasons are “irreconcilable differences” or “irretrievable breakdown.” Some states will require a period of separation, which could last for months or even years, but every state recognizes a “No-Fault” Divorce.
Summary Divorce (aka Summary Dissolution or Dissolution) This type of divorce is streamlined for couples that have no kids and few assets. While the marriage will end just like it would in other divorce processes, this version of no-fault divorce eliminates a large part of the usual divorce process. In order for this to happen, both spouses must come to an agreement on their own before filing for the dissolution.
An annulment is attained by invalidating the union, completely voiding the marriage as though it never happened. Each state has its own rules regarding acceptable reasons and timing for when this option is no longer possible for the couple.
Steps to Take for Divorce
- Make It Official. File a Petition, usually written by a lawyer. This states why the spouse is filing for divorce as well as how they want to deal with property and custody. Then file divorce papers at court. Spouses provide their response to the petition.
- If spouses can agree on a settlement, then Mediation could be the next step. This is an informal and collaborative agreement between the couple. This agreement can be approved by a judge at an informal hearing, giving the couple their divorce decree.
- If spouses are unable to find a settlement on their own, then legal assistance is required to bring it to divorce court. Spouses exchange information and documents with each other, their lawyers and the court. The evidence is presented by the divorce attorneys, any issues not agreed upon will be reviewed by a judge and that judge decides on a settlement. If both spouses are still unwilling to agree to this settlement, an appeal is possible. Child custody and child support papers are also filed during this time.
Divorce can be a long and grueling process, and it is even worse if you find that you unnecessarily waived property, certain rights, or other assets that matter to you. Also, not every settlement that the court determines is going to be acceptable. It is possible that you will want to appeal or modify the decision. It is recommended that you seek out the guidance and representation from a divorce lawyer from the beginning to help things go as smoothly as possible.