Law For The Common Man: No-Fault Divorce

OlderAndWiser u
Law For The Common Man: No-Fault Divorce

[I am a lawyer in Florida and I have a good general knowledge of Florida law. I know something about the law in other US states but I am not licensed to practice law in any state other than Florida. My purpose with this myTake, and others which will follow, is to give you an understanding of the general requirements of the law in various subject areas.

I am beginning with the law of divorce because discussions on this subject arise frequently on this site. It is NOT my purpose to give you advice concerning your individual case if you are in the midst of a divorce, or are adjusting to life after a divorce. If you need legal advice regarding a specific situation, go hire a lawyer. I can help you to locate a lawyer, if you need that assistance, but I am not your lawyer!]

In the past, once a couple was married, the law made it difficult for them to get a divorce. The person who wanted the divorce was required to prove that they had a sufficient reason to get a divorce. “I don’t love him anymore!” just wasn’t enough. The law was imbued with the Judeo-Christian values which encourage people to view marriage as a permanent and irrevocable commitment.

Law For The Common Man: No-Fault Divorce

The reasons which were considered to be sufficient were adultery, abandonment, abuse, alcoholism, or homosexuality. Once these grounds were established, the courts would then punish the “offending” spouse by a restriction or even loss of visitation rights with children, excessive child support and alimony obligations, and uneven distribution of assets and liabilities which had been accumulated during the marriage.

I certainly do not condone adultery, abandonment, abuse, alcoholism, or homosexuality within a marriage. However, this rigidity and hostility in the law of divorce created a hostile environment and, too often, divorced parents continued to be at war with each other while children got caught in the middle. Fortunately, as younger people got involved in making laws, there was a growing willingness to admit that forcing people to stay together was a horribly and absolutely, tragically dumb idea.

"Dumb and Dumber" (1994)
"Dumb and Dumber" (1994)

Florida now has “no-fault” divorce. To get a divorce in Florida, you need not prove that your partner has done anything wrong. If you tell a judge “my marriage is irretrievably broken” and give the briefest explanation (“I don’t love her, we have lived apart for four months now and I don’t want to go back to her”) then the judge will grant you a divorce.

If your spouse is opposed to the divorce, they can ask the judge to delay the divorce for six months and to order both parties to attend marriage counselling but I have never seen a judge do that. If your spouse is opposed to the divorce on religious grounds, the judge will still grant the divorce.

You occasionally hear people talking about agreeing to give their spouse a divorce but that is an ancient notion. You don’t need your spouse’s consent to get a divorce.

This does not mean that fault is irrelevant in a divorce case. If your wife is a drug addict, you can present evidence of that to try to get sole custody of your child. If your husband has been unfaithful and spent money supporting a mistress, you can present that evidence to support a request that the funds he spent on his cute little secretary be deducted from his half of the marital assets and be given to you instead.

Law For The Common Man: No-Fault Divorce

Sometimes, divorces get delayed for various reasons and occasionally one party has an urgency to get divorced. The most common reason is that one of the parties and their new partner are pregnant and they want to be married before the baby is born (though this reason seems to not be an urgency for younger folks now.) A judge in Florida can grant a divorce at any time more than 20 days after the divorce is filed and wait to decide the other issues in the case (alimony, division of assets and liabilities, child custody and support) later.

If you have general questions on the subject of no-fault divorce, please post them and I will respond as I am able. Please don’t ask questions about child custody, alimony, etc. now. I will present myTakes on those subjects in the near future and will respond to those questions when it will be more germane to the discussion.

Law For The Common Man: No-Fault Divorce
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Most Helpful Girls

  • itsmeamy
    I think sometimes it just doesn't work out for many reasons no need to be forced into keeping a relationship you don't want
    Is this still revelant?
    • I love your new profile picture!

    • itsmeamy

      Thanks I have lost so much weight I had to update it

  • WowwGirl
    Nice sir well done
    Is this still revelant?
    • WowwGirl

      We had a all conservative room for a bit there. @worldscolide @msc545 hey guys🙋

    • WowwGirl

      Wow she has my hair color

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What Girls & Guys Said

422
  • MzAsh
    Very informative, thank you!
    Forcing couples to stay together is ridiculous. I believe for many, no fault divorce is necessary. Instead of making it more difficult to get divorced, maybe it should be more difficult to get married in the first place. Too many couples are in way over their heads when they get married anyway.
  • worldscolide
    I wish divorce was cut and dry, you leave with what you come into it with. Here in my state, the laws while not in wording, heavily skew to favor women.. My best friend committed suicide because the ex not only divorced him, but managed to strip him of his children due to the ex claiming that he was a child molester (disproved by the way by a GAL), and claimed that he beat her. She also won substantial support to the tune of 4k per month in child-support and alimony (he only made 2500 per month). When he contested this, the judge literally told him "Its not my problem, you need to get a second job" I was there i heard her words. Whats worse, His home was given to her as well as all of the vehicles he owned. His home had been in his family for 150 years. Was built by his great grandfather. She never had her name on it, but he was made to on pain of imprisonment, turn over the home he grew up in. He appealed and appealed and was told that there was nothing he could do. Less than a month after the ink was dry on the divorce she moved some rando into his home and started fucking him.

    6 months after that i found him in a shoe box sized apartment on the floor with a self inflicted gun shot wound to the head.

    i have no words for how angry i am at his ex.. what happened to him makes me terrified of divorce. Not that my wife would do that to me.. Women in divorces are encouraged to use the silver bullet defense to get what they want. They are told to falsely accuse their husbands of abuse and other things to win them bigger settlements.

    Another way which the family unfairly favors women over men, Again in my home state, a 13 year old by was raped by his babysitter, he found out that when he turns 18 he owes her child support to the tune of 40k. He was denied access to the child.. In what world is it ever ok to make a rape victim pay child support..

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermesmann_v._Seyer
    • Unit1

      First they say "minors cannot consent" and then they force underage rape victims to pay child support. They're asking an almost homeless hobo student for several thousand dollars per month.

      I will never understand laws nor the justice system. I have no faith in them. I want to stay away as much as possible from it.

    • @worldscolide exactly what has turned me off dating.

    • Kit_Kat88

      I probably would be glad if she got shot in that house or shot before the divorce was settled. He could’ve got revenge and murder her before he killer himself

    • Show All
  • rxm_bxl
    I'm a lawyer in Namibia and our divorce laws are currently still based of common law. So the spouse wanting the divorce has to prove fault on the part of the other spouse. We also however have customary marriages however this is a sketchy area of law as these laws are traditional and hence have not been written down. So getting a divorce in terms of a customary marriage is also not quite clear.

    However due to the strict fault based divorces requirements, a lot of marriages here are bitter. Couples not anymore in love are still forced to remain married to each and in some cases spouses are purposefully unfaithful. This is also quite rare as if you're proven to be at fault for the dissolution of the marriage and you have no prenup, you're fucked.

    Luckily our divorce laws are being amended and we already have a complete draft of the proposed new legislation regarding divorce- which allows for divorce at the mere request of a spouse without any fault having to proven to a Court. Hopefully this will be be adopted by Parliament and made into a law by next year as the draft has been complete for a long while now.
  • JackSmy
    Great, but SO WHAT? Seems that EVERY guy I know, that got divorced got ROYALLY FUCKED!! She gets the house, both cars, the kids, and HIS DOG!! And, he pays child support, even when she has a college degree, and he doesn't!
    Why would any SANE MAN marry any woman, knowing that he is TOTALLY FUCKED, when it doesn't work out?
    • Okay, don't get married. Doesn't make a difference in my life.

      A few times in my life, I have heard what sounded like outrageous results in a divorce case, and I either went to one of the attorneys involved, or i looked at the court file. Invariably, the story I originally heard failed to include relevant facts like the husband was an alcoholic, or had spent about $100,000 supporting a mistress, or had threatened to kill the wife.

  • Liam_Hayden
    Thanks for posting this. My real complaint with "no-fault" has to do with one aspect. It seems bizarre to me that the innocent spouse, male or female, might have to pay alimony/spousal support to the cheater. I live in California. My friend's aunt is paying over $3000/month to her cheating ex till he remarries or she can prove he is cohabitating. I will not marry under these rules.
    • This is why you would want to have a prenuptial agreement.

  • RationalMale
    a story from family law class, a divorce attorney in Marietta GA. Couple was divorcing, the wife was out of love and had cheated on the husband. And gave him herpes.

    because the husband had a bad attitude through matter, the wife came out about 10k ahead in asset division.
    • If you have general questions on the subject of no-fault divorce, please post them and I will respond as I am able. I will present myTakes on the subjects of child custody, alimony, distribution of assets and liabilities, etc. in the near future and will respond to those questions when it will be more germane to the discussion.

  • prince350
    Informative, thanks.
    How does it work with property - is it split in half or are there mechanisms to prevent gold-diggers from defrauding the richer party?
    To remove incentives for marriage fraud, the Netherlands last year changed the default property regime in marital contracts to be 'each keep own assets and income earned during the marriage'
    • As I explained in this myTake, I will post other MyTakes that address alimony, child custody, division of assets, etc.

    • prince350

      mention assets and some scammer wants you

  • humanearth
    In Wisconsin, we had the No-Fault Divorce for a long time.

    But let me ask you this. How come many states don't recognize Common Law Marriages? Say a couple that been together 20 years, but never legally tied the knot. I know Wisconsin used to accept Common Law Marriages, but don't no more. I would say at least 50 years or better now.
  • Malik00
    Whats the point of getting married at all when your partner can just end it just because they got bored?
    • Well, if you just select a girl at random and get married without knowing her, you have a valid point.

    • Malik00

      But with a no fault clause you basically have to just trust your partner won't screw you over and im sorry i dont have that kind of faith to give.

    • Then don't get married.

  • EssenceOfLight
    I like the first pic. The judge should have authority of king Solomon and order to cut the child in two halves.
    I guess 80% of parents in divorce processes wouldn't give up until they got their half. XD
  • Interesting. This should be a gold standard for divorce procedures. This should also put litigation at a minimum.
    • katiesmuff

      What! And cut the lawyers out of all that extra cash they make while couples continue the fight that many times carries on for years. When it's all done only winners are the lawyers

    • @katiesmuff well not always. I never would touch matrimonial law (Im a paralegal) how most divorces are dragged out for years, this is cut and dry,

    • @katiesmuff If your opinion of lawyers is based primarily on late-night talk show hosts and their stupid one-liners about lawyers, you probably won't believe this, but. . . many lawyers are honest and ethical and they STRONGLY encourage clients to set aside their fighting and bickering and proceed with the rest of their lives. Really!

    • Show All
  • Likes2drive
    Yeah New York has no fault too but it’s only been for a few years now, they didn’t even care that she was an adulterer, you don’t even need a reason anymore but family court still sides with the mother
    • Drfuntime2

      Sorry man ik what you mean. Same boat here. Wish I had some words of encouragement for you.

    • @Drfuntime2 I’m finally done with it and recently done with child support so I’m free now but it’s hard starting over at this age

  • Interesting read. Thanks for sharing all that.
    People jumping off the bridge and then saying "never again" (unless they benefit from it somehow). In this case the bridge is the SINGLE marital status and the bottom ground with stones is the DIVORCED marital status. Masochism or ignorance or opportunism?
    This is why I'm never going to marry 😂 I don't need other people's approval of my love life and the end thereof.
  • ThisAndThat
    No fault divorce is exactly why men won't marry anymore. In fact millions of men around the world especially in the US and the west like myself have gone MGTOW Monk. We don't date associate or marry.
  • b5fan
    What you fail to mention here is that the penalties for a fault divorce... remain in a 'no fault' divorce. This is what causes the imbalance. Also a 50/50 division of assets is unfair if one party paid for the majority of those assets. In a no fault scenario you should be able to receive what you put into the marriage and no more. The current system is massively biased against the higher earner in the marriage.
    • 1. "What you fail to mention here is that the penalties for a fault divorce... remain in a 'no fault' divorce. This is what causes the imbalance." I have no idea what you mean by "penalties." Can you please explain?

      2. "Also a 50/50 division of assets is unfair if one party paid for the majority of those assets. In a no fault scenario you should be able to receive what you put into the marriage and no more." Maybe you didn't read the very end of the myTake where I said, "Please don’t ask questions about child custody, alimony, etc. now. I will present myTakes on those subjects in the near future and will respond to those questions when it will be more germane to the discussion."

      3. "The current system is massively biased against the higher earner in the marriage." What is the source of your knowledge on this subject?

    • b5fan

      @OlderAndWiser The penalties for a fault divorce were
      1. A forced division of assets in favor of the one not at fault
      2. The reward of alimony and child custody in favor of the one not at fault.
      What no fault divorce has done is to force a 50/50 division of assets in cases where the filing party did not earn 50 percent of the money to fund those assets. This effect allows the low earner to take advantage of the system and rob assets from the higher earner. A more equitable solution would be to divide the assets according to the income percentage of the two parties involved.

      In the fault divorce system the person who lost the most was the one who committed adultery, etc.

    • "Please don’t ask questions about child custody, alimony, etc. now. I will present myTakes on those subjects in the near future and will respond to those questions when it will be more germane to the discussion." Did you not read that?

      What is the source of your knowledge on this subject?

    • Show All
  • Jackblue
    I mostly agree with you that forcing people to stay together is wrong, though I read a statistic that children in fatherless marriages are more likely to end up as criminals. I suspect that may not so much be a divorce issue as between couples that were never married. Do you have any knowledge of that?
    • No, I don't have any statistics, but the valid comparisons would be outcomes for kids in single parent households vs. outcomes for kids where unhappy parents were forced to remain together.

    • Gravit1

      Unless you make the assumption Marriages were better in the past, a comparison based off total non married and divorced combined compared with the total in the past would still point to a trend. If you have lets say 20% divorce rate in the past + 30% never married in the past, vs a 30% divorce rate now and 50% never married it would still point to never married leading to higher crime. The articles I've read suggested level of Father's involvement, especially during the developmental years. A lack of discipline from a non existent Father or harsher discipline from a single Mother were seen as big factors. However more often the negative behavior comes from depression. Depression over no father or over arguing parents. Children take drugs or other criminal behavior as an escape from this depression.

      marripedia.org/effects_of_fatherless_families_on_crime_rates

    • @Gravit1 Yes, I am sure that is all true.

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  • JohnJonnhy08
    I am a law student in Europe. Seriously, to reading something from different legal system is very beautiful!! :)
  • captain_voidwalker
    Lemme translate from lawyer to man speak. No fault divorce = don't get married.
    • Unit1

      If you have to get divorced, you're already married.
      Don't want a divorce? Don't get married.

    • It is true that marriage is responsible for 100% of divorces

    • EXACTLY!

  • bamesjond0069
    No fault divorce makes the legal aspects of marriage at best useless and at worst terrible.

    Why would one pay alimony to the ex who left them just because they felt like it? Total nonsense. Any man who makes a commitment like that is a total moron. "Honey i promise to take care of you financially for the rest of my life, even if you leave me and are sleeping with other men".

    Marriage is supposed to be a lifelong commitment and therefore no fault divorce is just enabling bad behavior. Divorce due to boredom is bad behavior.

    Forcing people to honor their commitment is a good thing. I dont see any downsides other than "they dont want to"
  • msc545
    Thank you - very informative! I look forward to the next episodes!
  • stormx
    Yes, the wait was worth it! Looking forward to the next episode
  • Gwenhwyfar
    This is a great Take
  • Texaskid1
    Very interesting
  • Anonymous
    Thankfully I dont live in the US. I currently pay 12% of my wages to my ex in child support. We never married and have no sizeable assests.
    Were in a child custody thing Currently. She had been cheating for a year behind my back and only admitted to it after she caught an STD. Still denied who the guy was. Anyway turned out she had been beating our son so I had to call social services on her and she had to spend 1 year under supervision with our son, attend councillors, was almost prosecuted by police.
    Anyway I raised some pretty genuine issues about her new guy she's been seeing now for two years being around our son and have been taking legal action. In response she's thrown out all kinds of false accusations such as following, harassment, abuse and now rape usually straight after a meeting with social workers.
    Anyway I got a letter from the PPS Serious crime unit out of the blue informing me I was not being prosecuted, though I had no idea this was going on at all. So it solicitor time on that.
  • Anonymous
    I am a Civil Litigator in California and have handled a few divorces as well as having just been through my own. Additionally, my Father is a well respected Certified Family Law Specialist. California has no fault which is the best way-it then just comes down to division of property which is governed by Community Property system. Unless there are custody issues this greatly simplifies everything. Custody is really the only real bone of contention. No fault is a great system, especially when paired with the Community Property system which governs in most Western states.
    • Yes, divorces without minor children are relatively easy to negotiate!

      I will post another myTake on property division. Our system is a little different but also very easy in most cases.

    • I am preparing a myTake on distribution of assets and liabilities in a divorce. Florida is not a community property state, and I understand that California is. Would you like to contribute to the myTake that I am preparing? If so, please DM me.

    • Anonymous

      Unfortunately I am consumed right now over a real estate venture-but will eagerly read it and comment when you finish.

  • Anonymous
    Makes marriage pointless. There's no real commitment, so you might as well stay single and live together. When one of you decides they don't love the other anymore, just move out.
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