All states now have some form of no-fault divorce where. This means when a marriage is irretrievably broken or the spouses have irreconcilable differences, they can divorce in Alabama without a judge or jury having to find fault. Fault-based divorces, however, are still important in certain cases or required in other cases (e.g., covenant marriages).
At Ritchey Legal, PLLC, our divorce lawyer in Birmingham and throughout Alabama knows the law and will advise you on what option for divorce is best in your unique situation. Contact us online or at 205-225-9225 to schedule a consultation.
What is a Fault-Based Divorce?
While all states vary in what they will allow a divorce between two spouses to be based on, most recognize a “fault divorce.” A fault divorce occurs when one spouse is able to prove that the other spouse committed a “matrimony offense,” which led to the breakup of the marriage.
Common Matrimony Offenses in Alabama
Many states share common matrimony offenses that serve as the basis of fault divorces. It is important to be cautious, though, because these are serious offenses. To falsely accuse another of one of these offenses can lead to problems for you. It's always important to speak to a divorce lawyer experienced with fault divorces in your area.
Adultery occurs when one spouse has sexual relations with someone else outside of the marriage. Most states do not require actual proof of the sexual relations, but that the parties had the “opportunity” and the “inclination” to engage in sexual relations.
Abandonment is also referred to as desertion. This occurs when one spouse leaves the marital home with no notice and no intention to return. It typically includes one spouse no longer contributing to the financial obligations of the family without a valid reason.
The definition of cruelty varies in its breadth according to each state's laws. Generally speaking, it is when one spouse treats another in a way that is physically abusive or endangers their mental and/or emotional health. Some states even interpret it to include neglect.
Incarceration may be the reason for a fault divorce. In most states that allow incarceration as a matrimony offense, the spouse must be confined for a specified minimum amount of time.
Inability to Have Sexual Intercourse
Many states recognize the inability to engage in sexual intercourse as grounds for a fault divorce. Typically, the inability must have been concealed prior to marriage. Also, this is not to be confused with one spouse voluntarily abstaining from sex. Rather, it is the physical inability to have sexual intercourse.
Are There Benefits to a Fault-Based Divorce in Alabama?
While a fault-based divorce may be a little more complicated, there are reasons why it can be beneficial to pursue this route when seeking a divorce.
- If it is important to you that your former partner's wrongdoing be brought to the attention of the court, then you should pursue a fault-based divorce. For example, the courts in your state may consider the fault when awarding alimony.
- In most states, there is not a waiting period for fault-based divorces. Therefore, if you want to expedite the divorce proceedings, it may be in your best interest to pursue a matrimony offense-based divorce.
There may be other benefits in your state besides those listed here.
Why Hire a Divorce Attorney in Birmingham and throughout Alabama?
If you are considering filing for divorce, or if your spouse has filed for divorce, you should seek the counsel of a divorce attorney in your area. They will know the laws in your state and be able to provide you with specific guidance regarding how you should proceed under your particular circumstances.
Contact Fault Divorce Lawyer in Alabama Today
Fault-based divorces can be more contentious and last longer than no-fault divorces. At Ritchey Legal, PLLC, our divorce lawyer in Birmingham and throughout Alabama wants to make sure you get what you deserve while helping make the whole fault-based divorce process move along without too many hiccups. If you have been wronged and feel that it will make a difference to file a fault-based divorce or if you have been served a divorce based on fault but disagree with it, contact us online or call us directly at 205-225-9225 to schedule a consultation.