Unilateral No Fault Divorce

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Divorce is a process that mainly results when spouses find no possible ways to save their marriage from permanent breakdown. As a result, various unresolved conflicts may create such a condition where spouses may left with only one option and that is divorce. Divorce allows the spouses to get free from the bonds of marriage and lead separate lives. However, this legal separation process is mainly taken place as per the laws and policies defined by the state. All the divorce laws and rights may differ from state to state. At the same time, legal proceedings associated with a particular divorce process greatly depend upon the circumstances that exist between both the partners.

Therefore, no fault divorce is one of the highly common divorce types granted in most of the states in the US. However, a no fault divorce mainly occurs when both the parties are prepared to take a divorce without filing any complaint against another partner. As a result, no fault divorce is completed with lesser time and expenses as compared to other divorce types. A unilateral divorce is a special type of divorce where either of two spouses files a divorce and there is no compulsion that other spouse should be present during the filing procedure. Here we are providing detailed information regarding unilateral no fault divorce:

A No Fault Divorce has the following features.

  • The petitioner does not blame the respondent for the breakdown of the marriage and does not point out any fault of the respondent.
  • The petitioner simply states that incompatibility of temperament or irreconcilable differences are responsible for the breakdown of the marriage.

A Unilateral Divorce has the following characteristics.

  • Only one party (plaintiff or petitioner) petitions for the divorce.
  • Only one party (plaintiff or petitioner) makes an appearance in the court.It is not at all significant whether the respondent or defendant accedes to the divorce.

Initiation of unilateral no fault divorce

Fabricated legal marital controversies and divorce difficulties were prevalent when only fault divorces existed. Due to this, the general public and legal practitioners became frustrated. This led to the enactment of the initial no fault and unilateral laws in the United States at around 1968. Since then, an increasing number of states in the country have legislated for unilateral and no fault divorces and this resulted in a significant liberalizing movement.

History of unilateral no fault divorce

As per the definition as well as the practice, unilateral divorces terminate the need that both the divorcing partners must commit to divorce. At the same time, no fault divorces made proving any grounds of divorce absolutely unnecessary. Till the end of 1985, a large number of the fifty states in the country had successfully confirmed some sort of unilateral and no fault divorce legislation.

During the above mentioned time span (1968 to 1985), it was found that the rates of divorce magnified tremendously and almost doubled from the late 1960s to the late 1970s. It must be noted that unilateral divorce laws were introduced at the same time as no fault laws or just after no fault laws. Till the end of 2004, all the fifty states in the country had endorsed some version of no fault divorces and approximately two-thirds of the states had accepted unilateral divorce laws.

Friedberg's Model

In 1998, Friedberg studied the relation between divorce rates and divorce laws and developed a novel model regarding this topic. The State and year specific divorce statistics were taken into account in this study. After a comprehensive use of this model, Friedberg proposed that due to unilateral divorce laws, the divorce rate increased by 17 percent from 1968 to 1988.

Some additional variables were appended to Friedberg's Model by Justin Wolfers in 2005. Wolfers contemplated on the dynamic impact of unilateral and consequently no fault laws on divorce rates. He took a larger time range into consideration than was taken by Friedberg. Due to this approach, the potential for biased conditions in a narrow time span was overcome. The dynamic model presented by Wolfers reached a result that unilateral divorce increased the divorce rate for approximately ten years since its introduction. After this decade was complete, the effect of unilateral divorce laws on divorce rates vanished.

A unilateral no fault divorce can be considered as a convenient divorce process which can allow the single spouse to get a divorce without the consent of another partner. As a result, getting a divorce will become quite easier and hence, divorce rate may rise in future.

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