A ‘no-fault divorce’ is a type of divorce proceeding where the spouse who decides on filing for divorce does not claim the other spouse was the cause of the divorce. In essence, the individual filing for divorce claims there was no fault in the case. In most cases, a no-fault divorce is less expensive because there is no need for the court to determine whether one spouse or the other was at fault for the divorce. It is most often chosen as the type of divorce when both parties want to end the marriage and prefer to handle the divorce with as much expedience and the least expense possible.

The no-fault divorce laws in all 50 states have variations in how they are carried out and how long they will take. A typical no-fault divorce that involves very little disagreement can take as little as two months to complete. If there is any disagreement, problems with marital assets, or any other unexpected issues, it then becomes a contested divorce and can take much longer.

While the details of the rules are different in every state, the steps to getting a no-fault divorce boil down to the following:

1.Come to an agreement. The spouses should try to come to some agreement regarding the assets, child custody, and other issues. If they can do this agreeably, the courts do not have to be involved. If not, a judge will decide.

2.Establish the jurisdiction, which is the court that has the authority to decide a particular case. States have specific time periods prior to filing for a divorce in that state in which the spouse or both spouses must have lived.

3.Determine the grounds for divorce. While a no-fault divorce does not require one spouse to claim the other at fault for the dissolution of the marriage, most states have laws that require the spouse filing for divorce to state the grounds upon which they are seeking a divorce. Essentially, this is the reason the couple has decided to end their marriage

4.Draft the complaint (or petition) for divorce. Despite the name, this is the document that starts the process and lists the spouse’s names, the grounds for divorce, establishes the marital assets and children, and so forth. Once this document is filed with the court, the other spouse is served a copy of the petition.

At We the People, we’ll help you fill out non-fault divorce paperwork and help you navigate the process.

If you need help filing for divorce, or want more information about a no-fault divorce, see the staff at We the People today. Visit our store directory to find an office near you in New York, New Jersey, California, Washington, or Florida. Make an appointment to complete your divorce petition today.