A lot of couples who are contemplating filing for divorce in Michigan wonder whether they should file for a fault or no fault divorce, but what does that even mean? There’s a lot more to dissolving a marriage than most people might think, and it all starts with what grounds are cited on the court documents. Let’s take a closer look at both types of divorce and under which circumstances each is appropriate to file.

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No Fault Divorce

A no fault divorce is straight forward and to the point. Also known as filing for divorce based on “irreconcilable differences,” this type of divorce proceeding usually runs much faster and smoother than a fault-based divorce. Parties don’t have to worry about explaining their side of the story or giving detailed reasons as to why they want to part ways. Michigan divorce law allows couples to file for divorce just on the grounds that the marriage has been “irretrievably broken” and there is no reasonable chance the union can be reconciled.

Many couples tend to choose this route when filing for divorce in Michigan, but it’s important to note that just because a reason for the actual split may not be needed, fault may come into question when it’s time to divide property and assets and when determining child custody arrangements or alimony payments.

Fault Divorce

 A fault divorce is one that arises because one or both parties have accused the other of specific actions or behavior that has caused the marriage to break down. Examples include adultery, cruel treatment, abandonment, and imprisonment. It’s much less common for Michigan couples to file for a fault-based divorce because the no-fault option is always available. An at-fault divorce proceeding can take much longer to resolve and can become extremely heated because of the emotional suffering of the parties involved. There are usually a lot more “he said, she said” arguments going on and most of these cases tend to need the assistance of a Michigan divorce lawyer and mediator to ensure that disagreements don’t get out of hand or physical.

But regardless of whether a fault or no-fault divorce is filed, it’s important for parties to maintain their cool as best they can, especially if they have children. Children tend to suffer the most during divorce proceedings, often thinking that they may have been to blame for their parents’ split. Consulting with a divorce attorney is the best way to make sure the entire family’s needs are met and that the best course of action is taken to avoid any detrimental consequences with the children.

It’s not easy to go through a divorce, even if the decision to end the marriage was mutual. Even couples that begin proceedings on amicable terms can suddenly grow antagonistic and one spouse may try to deny the other of their rightful benefits. A divorce and family attorney can help keep issues at bay and concentrate on resolving matters as quickly and smoothly as possible so everyone gets their fair share in the settlement.