No Fault Divorce Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of No Fault Divorce, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is No Fault Divorce?

It is a divorce in which neither husband nor wife needs to prove the cause of dissolution of marriage. No one is blamed and nothing is written or spoken about who did what and what went wrong with the marriage. Either party can state a “no fault divorce” in the petition by just declaring that the marriage is not workable or is incompatible.

History and Meaning of No Fault Divorce

No Fault Divorce is a legal term that first emerged in the United States in 1969 when the state of California introduced it as an alternative to the then-prevalent fault-based divorce system. Before no-fault divorce, couples were required to provide evidence of some marital misconduct or wrongdoing, such as adultery, cruelty, or desertion, in order to obtain a divorce. The introduction of no-fault divorce paved the way for a smoother and less acrimonious dissolution of the marriage.

Today, every state in the US has some form of no-fault divorce law, which allows couples to end their marriage without pointing fingers or proving any fault. The typical grounds for no-fault divorce are irreconcilable differences, separation, or an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

Examples of No Fault Divorce

  1. John filed for a no-fault divorce from his wife Jane, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the dissolution of their marriage.
  2. Mary and Tom reached a mutual agreement to end their marriage through a no-fault divorce, without either party blaming the other for the relationship breakdown.
  3. After 20 years of marriage, David and Susan decided to separate and file for a no-fault divorce based on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown.

Legal Terms Similar to No Fault Divorce

  • Uncontested Divorce: A type of divorce where both spouses agree to end the marriage and resolve all issues, such as property division, child custody, and support, without going to trial.
  • Legal Separation: A legal process where a married couple lives apart but remains legally married, often used as a precursor to divorce.
  • Dissolution of Marriage: The legal term for ending a marriage, used interchangeably with divorce.