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Can fault impact your no-fault divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2022 | Divorce

Although Connecticut is among the states that recognize fault divorces, most couples choose the no-fault option when ending their marriages to avoid lengthy litigation and embarrassing court testimony. Still, this does not mean that a judge disregards fault when determining property division.

Spousal fault can factor into various aspects of your no-fault divorce.

What does the state consider grounds for fault?

Spouses in Connecticut may pursue an at-fault divorce on various grounds, including:

  • Adultery
  • A spouse’s absence from the marriage for seven years
  • Willful desertion by a spouse for one year
  • Intemperance
  • A spouse’s long-term mental incapacity
  • Fraud
  • Imprisonment
  • Cruelty

However, no-fault divorces do not require either spouse to provide compelling evidence of fault. Instead, irreconcilable differences or an irretrievable marriage breakdown are valid no-fault reasons for ending a marriage.

Can fault impact a no-fault divorce settlement?

Although spouses do not need to prove fault to obtain a divorce in Connecticut, a judge considers each spouse’s behavior when determining asset distribution. For example, a judge may increase the amount of alimony an adulterous spouse pays another who sacrifices a career to stay home with children.

Also, Connecticut divorce laws do not distinguish between personal and marital property. Therefore, judges may rely solely on their discretion and perception of fault when dividing all assets, including businesses, inheritances, and pre-marital property.

Does fault impact child custody?

Couples who cannot agree on child custody issues must rely on a judge’s intervention. For example, a judge may deny visitation or custody to a drug-addicted parent but not restrict the parental rights of an unfaithful spouse who proves to be a responsible parent.

Although pursuing a no-fault divorce potentially streamlines the dissolution of your marriage, it will not necessarily prevent you from losing valuable assets in a court-mandated settlement.