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What is the Difference between a Fault and a No-Fault Divorce?
Making the decision to divorce is never easy. Once you have exhausted all other options, however, it may be your best path for moving forward with your life. When it is time to begin the divorce process, whether or not you opt for a fault or no-fault divorce is an important consideration.
At Ballinger Law Firm, we work with individuals in the Charleston and Mount Pleasant areas as they navigate divorce proceedings. Founding attorney Beverly K. Ballinger understands that divorce is often an emotionally trying event, and she works tirelessly to ensure that her clients’ best interests are protected.
Is There a Party at Fault?
In a fault divorce, one spouse receives the blame for causing the marriage to deteriorate. When dividing marital property, a court may take fault into consideration. If you have significant assets you wish to protect, a fault divorce may make sense for you. Some grounds for a fault divorce in South Carolina include:
- Physical abuse: Proof of physical abuse, such as a police report, can be used to establish fault.
- Desertion: If an individual deserts their spouse for more than one year, they can be found at fault.
- Alcohol or drug abuse issues: If your spouse has addiction issues that led to the collapse of your marriage, a fault divorce may prevent them from seeking alimony.
- Adultery: Evidence of an affair can be used in court to prove that your spouse was at fault for your divorce.
Unlike a no-fault divorce, a fault divorce does not require a one-year separation. Because there is a burden of proof for a fault divorce, however, it is often prudent to retain the services of an experienced family law attorney.
Is a No-Fault Divorce Right for You?
A no-fault divorce can be an ideal solution for ending a marriage in a more amicable fashion. As this mode of divorce does not call for you to establish liability, it can be done without substantial litigation. A no-fault divorce can also lead to a more equitable division of marital property. South Carolina does require that couples seeking a no-fault divorce be separated for a period of no less than one year.
Determining whether or not to opt for a fault or no-fault divorce depends greatly on your situation. By consulting with a lawyer, you can better understand the options available to you before making such an impactful life decision.