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What "No-Fault" means in divorce...

In divorce (family law) some states are “fault” states, and others are “no-fault”. The easiest explanation of this is that in “no-fault” (which is California), outside events and situations such as marital infidelity do not affect the way the courts look at divorce settlements. Either party can do various non-injurious things and it cannot be made part of the divorce records.

So, “no-fault” essentially describes that fault is not placed on either party for outside “influences”. 

However, you should be aware that domestic violence constitutes a “fault” in California with significant consequences.  These consequences include a presumption the perpetrator of domestic violence should not have primary custody of children.  Domestic violence is also a consideration for the court when calculating spousal support.  The perpetrator could be ordered to pay more support to the victim of domestic violence.

This discussion of “no-fault” does not address actions by one party that hurt the finances of the other or the community.  A party can be at fault for stealing or wasting community money.  In this discussion we are addressing acts like affairs that lead to the breakdown of a marriage; acts that carry significant emotional weight in a divorce case.

At Ratzer Family Law we counsel our clients to control their emotions in their case.  Unchecked emotions cause litigants to take unreasonable positions in their case.  Because California is a “no-fault” divorce state, the Judge hearing your case will not appreciate positions predicated on what the other party/parent “did” to cause the divorce.  Most Judges in San Diego County are handling 5,000+ active cases and another 10,000+ inactive cases.  They are busy trying to manage the real issues in a case and do not have time to hear about the affair that caused the breakdown of a marriage.

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Email: jimratzer@ratzerfamilylaw.com

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