What is “no fault” divorce?
“No fault divorce” means that people can file for divorce without having to show wrongdoing by the other party (such as adultery, desertion, cruelty, etc.).
California was the first state to institute “no fault” divorce laws in 1970.
Washington State adopted “no fault” divorce legislation in 1973.
Presently, all states have adopted “no fault” divorce laws.
Only some states still retain the option of “fault divorce.”
The bottom line is the Washington State is a strictly “no fault” state.
Some people are not aware of this, either because of their experience in another state, family history of divorce a long time ago, etc.
Some people can be disappointed in the no-fault divorce process because they feel that they were wronged by the other party and want their mistreatment to be aired in a legal forum.
However, in a “no fault” divorce system, the intent is to avoid mixing morality with law.
Instead, the focus is on dissolving the marriage at the request of the petitioner.
The Court will have the task of splitting property equitably, awarding maintenance and child support if necessary, deciding on a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the children, etc.
Although alleged misdeeds of either spouse may be raised in court documents, they are usually not relevant to the ultimate outcome, with a few exceptions.
Obviously, certain behaviors may be relevant in a custody battle or to prove that a party has genuinely wasted assets.
If you would like to speak with an attorney at our office about a divorce or other family law matter, please contact us.