What Does No-Fault Divorce Mean?

People often ask if they have to prove fault to get a divorce in Utah. The answer is “no,” you don’t.

Instead, you can simply say the marriage relationship is “irretrievably broken,” or there are “irreconcilable differences” (lawyer speak for “our marriage is really bad”), and that is good enough grounds for a divorce. This type of system in which you don’t have prove any fault at all in divorce is called a “no-fault system.”

No-fault systems haven’t always been a thing. Years ago (or until recently if you lived in New York State), you had to prove fault to obtain a divorce. This means you would have to prove abandonment or adultery or something else so you could divorce.

Utah did away with the fault system some time ago.

One effect of the no-fault system is that if a spouse doesn’t want to divorce, he or she cannot stop the divorce. That’s right, one spouse can force through a divorce. There is no veto in Utah divorce law.

(A piece of quick advice: when you file for divorce, don’t actually write why you want to divorce. It does no good to write in the court documents that your spouse cheated on you and is horrid human being. This sort of thing doesn’t do you any good, and it will just embarrass your spouse and make it much harder to negotiate and settle your case later on. Let sleeping dogs lie and write “irreconcilable differences.”)

Published On: January 21st, 2016Categories: No-Fault DivorceComments Off on What Does No-Fault Divorce Mean?
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About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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