If you earned the lion’s share of the income in your relationship, then you have good reasons to worry. Despite assertions that a no-fault divorce is best for everyone, that may not be the case for you. So does a no-fault divorce mean you have a disadvantage?
The long-term effects on your quality of life, finances, and even time with your children can be affected. But you do not have to accept glaring disparities without putting up a fight. Reading this article today will give you a better understanding of the law and how a divorce attorney can defend your interests.
Which is the Greater Disadvantage: Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce
A fault-based divorce involves one party blaming the other for the erosion of the marriage. As a result, the party found liable may have significant disadvantages in the divorce settlement. For example, they could receive a smaller share of the marital property or a reduced amount of alimony.
On the other hand, a no-fault divorce does not focus responsibility on one party over the other. Instead, the parties can state that they have irreconcilable differences, and the court will grant the divorce. Generally, the spouses receive equal shares of assets or joint custody in the divorce settlement.
No-fault divorce has become more expected because it streamlines the procedure and reduces friction. However, fault divorce is still available in many jurisdictions. Some parties may choose it over a no-fault proceeding if they believe it will give them an advantage.
Potential Disadvantages of a No-Fault Divorce
Generally, a no-fault divorce doesn’t give either party a disadvantage. They can often negotiate and agree on a fair settlement. Nonetheless, a no-fault divorce can lead to an unfair outcome. This possibility is more likely if discrepancies in earning potential exist between the spouses.
A fault-based divorce allows you to argue why the other party does not deserve more support. However, in a purely no-fault divorce state, you may have more obligations regardless of the circumstances. This section will examine those possibilities in detail.
Disparities in Finances
Financial disparities can be a heavy influence on divorce settlements. When a couple divorces, they must divide their shared assets and debts. These could include investments, retirement accounts, bank accounts, and other acquisitions.
The court will also consider income disparities to determine if spousal support is appropriate. For instance, if you were not the primary earner and put your career on hold, you may struggle financially after the divorce. In such a case, the court may grant you alimony to help maintain your standard of living.
But, if you were the breadwinner, you may lose a significant percentage of your income to spousal support. Furthermore, if one party wastes assets, they may receive an order to reimburse the other party for their share.
Disparities in Education or Earning Potential
Educational differences between spouses can impact divorce in various ways. For instance, if one spouse has a higher level of education, they may have better job prospects and higher earning potential. Consequently, the spouse with a lower level of education may have financial disadvantages after the split. This reality especially applies if they were not employed or had lower-paying jobs.
Moreover, different educational backgrounds can influence the division of marital acquisitions. If one spouse paid for the other spouse’s education, the court considers the degree a shared asset. However, this may differ depending on the jurisdiction.
Additionally, educational disparities may impact child custody arrangements. The court may evaluate which parent can provide better financial and emotional support. If one parent has a higher level of education and earning potential, they may cater better to the children’s needs.
Disparities in Raising a Child
In a no-fault divorce, child custody decisions depend on the best interest of the child or children. The court examines factors such as the following before handing down their orders:
- Living arrangements of each parent
- Work schedules
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The child’s needs and preferences
- Any history of domestic violence or abuse
If the parties cannot agree on child custody, a mediator may help. If they cannot find a middle ground, the court may have the final word based on the evidence presented.
It’s important to understand that child custody arrangements can change. For instance, a parent might move to a different location, or the child’s needs could shift.
Overall, child custody is a critical consideration in a no-fault divorce. It is advisable to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney to help ensure the best possible outcome for the children involved.
Consult With a Divorce Attorney
As you have seen in the sections above, a no-fault divorce can put you at a disadvantage. But more circumstances can apply, and there could be loopholes to utilize. If you do not have an attorney who understands the full scope, you could agree to unfavorable conditions that harm your future.