Unlike No-Fault Divorce, Fault Has To Prove Something Specific
Video Transcribed: What is the difference between fault and no-fault divorce in Oklahoma? I’m Oklahoma attorney James Wirth. That’s the question that we have today. The difference between a fault divorce and a no-fault divorce.
All right. Historically, in the state of Oklahoma and other states, you had to have proven some sort of fault by the other party in order to be granted a divorce, a dissolution of that marriage. More modern laws don’t require that. Most states are now no-fault states, including the state of Oklahoma, which means besides trying to get a divorce by proving those bad acts, you could get a divorce just by asserting irreconcilable incompatibility. That is your no-fault divorce.
When it comes to fault divorces, you have to prove something specific.
For instance, in Oklahoma, we’ve got a few different options for getting a fault divorce. You could prove abandonment for one year or longer, adultery, impotency, the wife getting pregnant by another man other than her husband, extreme cruelty, fraudulent contract, habitual drunkenness, gross neglect of spousal duties, imprisonment in a state or federal institution, obtaining a divorce decree from another state that does not release you from the divorce in this state, and insanity for five years or more. Those are your fault or for cause divorce options.
You could prove those to the court and get it granted on that basis, or you can just prove irreconcilable incompatibility and get it granted on that basis.
What is the difference? Practically speaking, in the end, result, there’s not a lot of difference. You’re not going to be entitled to more spouse support or proper division or anything else because you proved that it was a fault divorce. That doesn’t benefit you in any of those regards.
Similarly, it’s not going to help you with custody, visitation, child support, all of those things. However, if there are bad acts that the kids were exposed to, that itself could be a factor in determining custody, and it’s going to be relevant. But just the fact that you got the divorce on that basis does not help in that regard.
One thing that I look at on these, is that a lot of times the parties can get along a lot better if you don’t want to do a fault divorce. It’s less burden for you to prove, so it’s going to be less work, so most of the time that’s what happens in the state of Oklahoma. One benefit, strategically, of requesting fault divorce is that judges are human. They hear these certain allegations, even though under the law it may not technically be material to an issue before the court, they’re human, maybe it affects their judgment consciously, maybe affects it subconsciously.
Sometimes it may make sense strategically in a difficult divorce process order to allege some sort of fault to force the relevance of that issue, so the judge has to hear it as part of the trial and then hope maybe that affects the decision the judge has elsewhere, even though it’s not supposed to.
Strategically, somebody might make that sort of decision but generally speaking, in most cases that we have and most cases that we see out there, people file for a no-fault divorce, irreconcilable compatibility, where it’s simpler, easier, and less likely to cause problems.
The only real benefit, besides who I talk to evidentiary of having it, is if you want the decree to say that your spouse was at fault, maybe for religious reasons, you need that to get an annulment with your church. That can be a basis that you want to talk to your attorney about.
That’s the general information I can provide you online. But if you’re facing these circumstances, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney about your specifics. To get that scheduled with a divorce Tulsa attorney at my office, you can go online to makelaweasy.com.