No Fault Divorce: How Does It Compare to Its Traditional Counterpart?

No Fault Divorce: How Does It Compare to Its Traditional Counterpart?

Divorcing is the kind of decision that married couples do not take lightly. It is a major life change that is best handled by an attorney in order for the process to go as smoothly as possible. As complicated as divorce can be, many couples are surprised to learn that there are different types of divorce. One of which is a no-fault divorce. If this is news to you, let’s explore how a no-fault divorce compares to its traditional counterpart. 


The family lawyers Melbourne have experience with both types of divorce and can help you choose which is better for your unique situation. In a traditional divorce, you or your partner would need to show proof of one of 14 reasons to divorce. Some of these reasons include insanity, adultery, cruelty, and imprisonment. Getting evidence isn’t always easy, and it can sometimes be very costly. If children are involved and there is an issue of child custody, the assigned fault in a traditional divorce can come into question during custody proceedings. 


In a no-fault divorce, the divorce is predicated on the irretrievable breakdown of the relationship, which many people also refer to as irreconcilable differences. An irretrievable breakdown simply means that the couple has no hopes of reconciliation and that both parties are ready and willing to dissolve the marriage. A no-fault divorce allows the couple to divorce without citing specific circumstances and incidents to the court in their legal petition or divorce papers. According to Australia’s Family Law Act, the only prerequisite for obtaining a no-fault divorce is that the couple is separated for a period of 12 months. A couple doesn’t even have to have been married in the country. It should be noted that separation doesn’t mean that both parties have to have different addresses. A couple can be separated while still living in the same home. 


Some of the key things to remember about no-fault divorces and traditional divorces include:

  • Being cheaper and simpler.
  • Proof of separation for a full twelve months is the only requirement.
  • You can obtain a no-fault divorce even if you weren’t married in Australia.
  • Traditional divorces can get very messy.
  • A fault divorce requires the court to assess who is to blame for the couple’s split on at least one of 14 grounds for divorce. 
  • Traditional divorces do not allow for as much privacy as a no-fault divorce.
  • Traditional divorces do not require a separation period before the court grants the divorce. 

Before the late 1970s, couples did not have the option to get a no-fault divorce. It was impossible to not assign blame or fault and allow both individuals to dissolve the marriage on equal terms. With the emergence of no-fault divorce, couples can maintain privacy by waiting a year before legally dissolving a union. Just keep in mind that although it’s a simpler way to divorce, there may have to be some disclosure of specific circumstances if child custody is involved.

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