In the early 20th Century, people got married young and tended to stay that way until the day they died. Things have definitely changed in the past century, in fact, young people are putting off marriage until much later in life. People are much more focused on achieving other goals in life than getting married straight out of high school or college.
Still, people are getting married, and with that, we inevitably have to deal with divorce when a marriage doesn’t work out as planned. One thing that really hasn’t changed over the past century is the types of divorce available to couples who can’t make it work. If you’re contemplating divorce, then you probably want to know about your options.
Read on to learn all about the kinds of divorce available to you.
Since we’re talking about all of the different kinds of divorce, we might as well start with the simplest form. An uncontested divorce happens when both spouses in the marriage both agree that they want to end their marriage. Simple, right?
Simple, but not super common. In order to have an uncontested divorce, both spouses must also agree on how they would like to divide up their marital property. Things get more complicated when you throw kids in the mix and have to agree on things like custody and child support.
Still, uncontested divorces do happen. They’re especially common amongst people who don’t have real estate or children.
If an uncontested divorce means that everyone agrees on everything, then a contested divorce happens when there is some form of discord in the divorce process. This can be anything from the division of property, spousal support, to whether the couple should get divorced at all.
One thing to note is that contested divorces are not just difficult to go through, they’re also complicated. They’re not the type of divorce that you want to go through all on your own. For these reasons, it’s important to hire a divorce lawyer to make sure that you get everything you deserve out of the divorce process.
When there are issues upon which the parties to a divorce do not agree, then the parties may try to work out the issues without relying upon the court to sort them out. When this occurs, it is known as a mediated divorce.
In mediation, each party to the divorce comes to the table with their respective attorneys (if they have one). A neutral third party serves as the mediator to help the parties come to a decision about the issues at hand. The mediator cannot give legal advice, but they can help guide the conversation until the parties reach an agreement.
A collaborative divorce occurs when both parties agree to hire their own legal representation for the purposes of the divorce. The parties also agree that they will share all available information and make all decisions about the outcome of the divorce outside of court. This means that a judge will never have to make any decisions about the divorce, and it allows for more privacy.
Ideally, a collaborative divorce allows both parties to reach an agreement and file for an uncontested divorce. Even couples with the best of intentions face hiccups in this process, though. If the court needs to step in, then the parties agree to seek out new legal representation for the divorce.
Never heard of a default divorce? Don’t worry if you haven’t, they aren’t too common.
A default divorce occurs when one spouse files for divorce and the other spouse cannot be located or simply does not respond to the divorce petition. It’s important to note that this does not occur automatically if the other spouse fails to show. The spouse that filed for divorce must petition the judge to grant them a default divorce.
There are certain situations that can stay a default divorce, including having a spouse that is on active duty. It’s important to speak to your lawyer about your options here.
Everybody has heard the story of Britney Spears’ quickie wedding to her childhood friend Jason Alexander in Las Vegas. That was a wedding that famously lasted about 55 hours before it was ended through annulment.
Annulment is a legal proceeding that essentially makes it as if the marriage never occurred in the first place. This differs from divorce in that divorce acknowledges that the marriage occurred. In order to get an annulment, however, you have to meet very specific grounds.
The most common reason for annulment is that one or both of the parties were incapacitated at the time of the marriage. Maybe you got too drunk on your Vegas vacation and married someone you met on the strip. You can also get an annulment if either party was unable to consummate the marriage.
Grounds for annulment vary by jurisdiction. Be sure you do your research if you plan to go this route instead of getting a divorce.
Non-Fault Based Divorce
A non-fault-based divorce occurs when both spouses agree that they do not want to be married any longer. Neither party believes that the other party is to blame for the failure of the marriage.
In general, states within the US are either a fault-based jurisdiction or a non-fault-based divorce jurisdiction. States that are non-fault-based jurisdictions do not require grounds for divorce. Additionally, the reasons for divorce do not have an impact on how each party fares in the divorce process.
That doesn’t mean that married people who live in a state that offers fault-based divorces have to find some fault in order to get a divorce. They typically file for divorce under irreconcilable differences.
Common Grounds for Divorce
What do you do if you want to get divorced because of spousal misconduct in the marriage? Depending on the state in which you live, you can file for a fault-based divorce. The judge may then take the grounds into consideration when making any decisions about the divorce process, including how to divide up marital property.
In order to get a divorce based on fault, the fault must fall into one of the specific grounds for divorce. These grounds vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but there are several grounds that are fairly common to find.
Adultery is easily one of the most common grounds for divorce. When you get married, you both agree to be faithful to each other. Finding out that your spouse has been unfaithful can take a seemingly happy marriage and totally destroy it.
When filing for divorce based on adultery, you will also have to provide evidence of the grounds. A judge will not simply take your word for it, especially if the other party denies being unfaithful. Evidence can be in the form of receipts, photographs, or even witness testimony.
Desertion is another very common ground for divorce. Desertion occurs when one of the marital partners moves out of the marital home and does not intend to come back. It sounds simple, but there are certain conditions that need to be met in order to be granted a divorce based on desertion.
First, the spouse that was deserted must not have given consent to the other spouse moving out. Ideally, the spouse that stayed in the marital home never agreed to anything, not even a trial separation. Some states also require a certain amount of time to go by before they will grant a divorce based on desertion.
Did you know that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 9 men are victims of intimate partner violence at some point in their lives? Domestic violence and abuse are sadly a common occurrence throughout the country. No one should have to live their life with an abusive partner, and the courts agree.
If you experienced some form of abuse in your marriage, then that may serve as grounds for divorce. As with other grounds, it’s important to have solid evidence of the abuse. File police reports when the violence occurs if you can, and document when the abuse occurs.
Most importantly, don’t wait to get out. There are services available that can help you safely leave an abusive relationship.
Addiction is another common ground for divorce. Addiction can come in the form of alcohol or drug abuse. One caveat, however, is that you must not have known about the addiction at the time you got married.
There Are Many Types of Divorce, Which Is Best for You?
Making the decision to get a divorce is a big one. You want to make sure that you are familiar with all of the different types of divorce so the divorce process goes as smoothly as possible. If you aren’t sure which way to go, then it’s important to speak with a local attorney who can represent you and help you make the right decisions.
Adult life is full of lots of unexpected twists and turns, especially when it comes to legal issues. If you’ve got questions about anything from family law to criminal law, then you’ve come to the right place. Take some time to look through our blog for tons of great content about everything in the legal world.