Does The Reason For Divorce Matter In A Settlement?

Law Blog

In contemporary society, everyone has an equal right to seek out divorce for whatever reason they choose. But in terms of a divorce settlement, the reason you choose for divorce matters for how many assets you will receive.

Fault Is More than a List of Complaints

The legal term for one spouse being responsible for the dissolution of a marriage is a fault divorce. You will be asked to state the reason for divorce, and it can play into your settlement. But, this is more than a list of things you hate about your spouse. Those fall more under the lines of irreconcilable differences that both people are responsible for. In order to have a fault divorce, there must be a serious misconduct by one party. Things like having an affair, having a serious addiction or gambling problem, or having a criminal conviction are examples of "fault" reasons for divorce.

Fault Matters in Asset Splitting

Some states allow judges to consider the fault of the divorce when they decide how to split assets. Consider a case where someone spent your assets on their mistress. All of that money could be repaid to you on top of your fair half of assets. In general, in states where fault-based decisions are allowed in divorce court, your divorce lawyer will need to help you prove why the spouse who misbehaved does not deserve a strong portion of your remaining assets.

Fault Matters in Alimony

Fault cases are important when it comes to alimony as well. No reasonable judge should force you to pay out lifetime alimony payments to a spouse who repeatedly cheated on you. Alimony must depend on both parties making a reasonable effort within the marriage to substantiate a claim that a higher-earning spouse owes support to a lower earner.

Finding Fault

Your family attorney will need to help you prove misconduct on the part of your spouse. You might need to have a private investigator catch them being unfaithful to you before you announce that you want a divorce. Or, you may have to collect financial records that show the spouse has squandered your money in an unreasonable way. Things like alcohol abuse could be proven based on records of repeated entries to a rehabilitation facility on their behalf. Speak with your divorce lawyer about whether your case constitutes a fault divorce and how you can go about supporting your claim.

Reach out to an office like Kleveland Law for more information.


9 May 2017