At-fault divorce is a legal dissolution of a marriage for some cause, known as a marital offense. This alternative to no-fault divorce can grant increased benefits to the prevailing spouse but also requires significant evidence to demonstrate the fault of the offending spouse.
An at-fault divorce, as the name implies, is a legal separation process that dissolves a marriage due to marital offenses. The compensation for at-fault divorces are greater than no-fault divorces and they also do not require the couple to live separately before filing.
The most common grounds for filing an at-fault divorce are cruelty, adultery, or abandonment. Cruelty is defined as physical or emotional abuse. Additionally, some at-fault divorce grounds include imprisonment and/or the physical inability to have physical intercourse if it was hidden from the other spouse.
The evidence required for an at-fault divorce varies depending on the nature of the at-fault accusations. While the accusations do not need to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt like in a criminal trial, in general the accusations must be shown that they are more likely than not to be true.
Unlike in a no-fault divorce, there will be time set aside to determine whether the charges of marital offenses are true or not. These charges must be considered before proceeding with the rest of the divorce as the decision whether or not the offenses are valid will impact further decisions such as custody of children, alimony, and division of property.
The consequences of an at-fault divorce are most commonly embarrassment and financial losses for the one found to be at fault. The advantage for the person who files an at-fault divorce is that they may be able to acquire additional marital property and alimony rights.