Legal definition of fault divorce
Divorce & Separation Legal Terminology

fault divorce

A fault divorce is only granted if one of the spouses is legally at fault. Today about two-thirds of states still offer some form of fault divorce when marital misconduct has been proved.

In a fault divorce the petitioner (the person asking for the divorce) must prove that an act by his or her spouse constitutes marital misconduct and provides a legal reason for a divorce.

Usual grounds for a fault divorce are adultery, imprisonment, a separation agreement, and cruel and inhuman treatment (the physical and mental well-being of plaintiff is endangered, making it unsafe or improper for plaintiff and defendant to continue living with defendant); Another common ground is abandonment (the defendant has abandoned the plaintiff for a period of time prior to starting the divorce action and continuing to the present), which includes physical (spouse left marital home with no intention of returning, without any good reason to do so and without other spouse's consent), constructive (one spouse refuses to engage in sexual relations without consent, cause or justification), and continuous lockout.
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