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Absolute Divorce

The most common form of divorce is legally termed absolute divorce. In this form of divorce, marriage is completely dissolved. Legal grounds for absolute divorce depend on individual state laws, but typically it can be granted on the basis of marital misconduct (at-fault) or because the couple simply cannot get along (no-fault). The distinction between at-fault divorce and no-fault divorce can have important consequences for the outcome of the legal proceedings.

At-Fault Divorce

This type of divorce occurs when one spouse sues for divorce due to the transgressions of the other. Grounds for at-fault divorce include cruelty (inflicting needless physical or emotional pain), adultery, abandonment, lengthy imprisonment, and inability or unwillingness to consummate marriage. Not all states offer at-fault divorce. In those that do, the spouse that can prove fault may be awarded a greater portion of community property or larger alimony payments. Hiring a divorce attorney may increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.

No-Fault Divorce

This describes any divorce where the spouse filing for divorce is not required to prove misconduct on the part of the other partner. Suitable grounds for no-fault divorce include incompatibility and irreconcilable differences. All states offer no-fault divorce; however, some states require a separation period before divorce can be granted. No-fault divorces are still subject to legal battles over property distribution, child custody, child support, and alimony.


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