The Different Types of Divorce- (Easily Explained)

Divorce is a legal procedure that terminates a marriage proceeding between a couple. The marital relationship is created on the basis of trust and love. But, in some circumstances, people make a breach the commitment of marriage. Sometimes, the spouses face a lot of differences in general lifestyle, career, financial decisions, etc. in this case, divorce is the only option available to come out of a meaningless bond. There can be different reasons for such types of conflicts and divorce.

There are many types of divorce. The nature of divorce depends on the current situation, the reason for a divorce, and the mutual relationship between the spouses. On the basis of the Family Law, the procedure and requirements for divorce vary according to the kind of divorce that is taken by the couple.

Following are some Different Types of Divorce:

Regular Dissolution or Absolute Divorce:

This type of divorce is taken when both the parties do not agree on the matters like custody of children, property distribution, etc. In this type of divorce, the judge decides the final statement of what the decisions on the matters of property and child custody will be. This is also known as the contested divorce as neither of the parties agrees on mutual settlement of issues.

Uncontested or Undisputed Divorce:

An uncontested divorce is the divorce taken when one spouse does not give any response to the notice of the court for a divorce. Another situation is where both parties agree to make a mutual agreement related to the division of property, income distribution, alimony, and child support. The uncontested divorce is known as simplified divorce as it can be taken in a short period of time without much hassle.

Summary Dissolution:

A summary divorce is useful to act for couples who have not been married for a long duration. The essential conditions of summary divorce are a short-term marriage that is less than five years and no children.

Also, there should be a minimum amount of property to be divided and comparatively lesser personal property. Summary dissolution is the best way to get a divorce when both of the parties agree on the terms of the divorce.

No-fault Divorce:

No-fault divorce is a well-known type of divorce in some states of the United States. It is the concept that was first introduced in California. In this type, neither party requires to prove any mistake of the other party that caused the breaking of the relationship.

That is you do not have to prove your partner guilty on common grounds like adultery and cruelty to get a divorce. The divorce is granted for the reasons of irreconcilable disputes or insolvable problems in a marriage. For the no-fault divorce, the spouses need to make a mutual agreement on the matters related to the marriage.

Legally Limited Divorce:

This is also called legal separation in some states. Legal separation is not an absolute divorce. The partners are announced to be legally separated. But, they are not allowed to re-marry as their marriage is considered to remain intact. The term legal separation refers to the physical separation of the partners.

Limited divorce can result in absolute divorce after some years if the separation continues. The legal separation requires mutual consent from spouses. So, one party can not file for this type of divorce.

These are some important types of divorce. Apart from that collaborative divorce, where partners come to an agreement after negotiation and mediated divorce, where the mediator initiates discussion between the parties and makes them come to the conclusion, are other types of divorce.

The Divorce Types in Various States

Not every state in the United States has adopted a divorce law. Some states have adopted the divorce recognition act while some states have accepted the uniform act of divorce. Thus, the procedures and requirements for the divorce will vary from state to state. Also, no-fault divorce or limited divorce is available in some states only.

Other states accept the concept of legal separation in a different way. The states which have adopted the uniform recognition act for divorce place some residency requirements. In order to get a divorce in such states, one or both the parties need to reside there for a specific period of time.

In this way, there are different types of divorce that are mentioned in the Family Law. If you are thinking about taking a divorce, you must know in which type your situation fits in and file for the divorce according to that. Generally, the uncontested divorce or simplified divorce have less harmful effects on the emotional and financial stability of the person.

Complete Process of Each Type of Divorce

Divorce can be a difficult and emotional process. The legal requirements for each type of divorce are different, but there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the issues that arise during this time. Here we will talk about different types of divorce in the United States:

  1. At-Fault Divorce
  2. Collaborative Divorce
  3. No-Fault Divorce
  4. Summary Divorce
  5. Uncontested Divorce
  6. Legal Separation

At-Fault Divorce

Divorce is defined as a legal termination of a marriage proceeding. Sometimes, divorce is a mutual decision while sometimes it is a forced one. Getting a divorce through the legal procedure is never an easy task.

You need to have detailed information about the types of divorce, requirements for all kinds of divorce, and concerned documents that need to be submitted. There are many types of divorce. At-fault divorce is one of them.

What is meant by At-fault divorce?

At-fault divorce can be explained as the process of a divorce where you need to prove the other party as guilty of making damage to the institution of marriage. Otherwise, you would not be able to get a divorce.

That means the spouses have to prove the mistakes or faults in court in order to obtain a divorce. It is also known as a part of contested divorce as many hearings and trials are involved in the process of divorce. In legal terms, it is described as the effective accusation of one party on the other one and presentation of proofs for the same.

There are specific grounds for such type of divorce where both parties would not agree on the issues related to divorce including alimony and custody, property, etc.

Reasons for an At-fault Divorce

There is a number of causes behind the decision of divorce. Some are on the primary level while some are old and extreme. They can briefly state as:

  • Adultery or cheating on the partner: Cheating the partner by having physical or other close relations with other individuals of the opposite sex, is considered as a valid ground for divorce. The partner who founds such relations of the spouse can file for an at-fault divorce.
  • Incompatibility with the partner: If any of the partners have serious problems or major differences with the other, that spouse can apply for a divorce on this ground. A compatible relationship is the basis of marriage. Therefore, if that is damaged, marriage is difficult to continue.
  • Desertion and separation: If a spouse has deserted the partner for a long period of time for no satisfactory reason, then the partner is eligible to apply for an at-fault divorce in court. There is a difference between separation and desertion. Desertion does not involve the consent of a partner while separation is usually carried out by mutual consent.
  • Abusive behavior: The emotional or physical harassment or torturous treatment by a partner is often a reason for divorce. The partner can launch a case against a spouse asking for compensation to be paid at the time of divorce. Medical help is taken to prove the abuse or harassment in the court.
  • Differences: Sometimes, it is observed that a couple faces many problems due to the financial, social, and cultural differences between them. If the differences and conflicts between the spouses are unsolvable, then a divorce is an option to end the forced bond of marriage.

The procedure to get an at-fault divorce

The process of getting an at-fault divorce is quite the same as the normal procedure of divorce. It starts with filing for divorce by any one of the partners. Both partners can apply together.

Generally, the petition is followed by a response and as there is no mutual agreement, the case is fought in the court with the help of lawyers and attorneys from both parties. It is observed that this process takes a longer time than uncontested divorce as there is a number of hearings, appeals, and trials.

Effects of at-fault divorce

At-fault divorce or a regular dissolution has a long-lasting impact on the professional and personal life of an individual. It can badly affect mental and financial stability. The effects can be explained as below:

  1. Effects on spouses: Divorce is always a painful decision whether it is forced or a mutual one. Sometimes, it may prove to be a rational or logical way to get out of bad circumstances. But, it definitely leaves bad impressions on the mind of spouses. It can lead you to depressive mental disorders or even suicide in some cases. Also, it reduces the savings and investments of a person and puts him in the financially adverse position
  2. Effects on the child: If the divorce process involves a minor or major child, then it really gets difficult for both parents and that child. The accusations and blaming in the court leave a life-long impact on the psychology of children. They may feel insecure and lonely if caught between the fight of parents. Often, children are forced to stay with a single parent which may hamper their relations with the other parent. In short, the divorce of parents can have many harmful effects on the life of children.

Thus, at-fault divorce is the option for spouses who lack mutual consent and want the decision of the court in their favor. But, one should be aware of the effects of it.

Collaborative Divorce

Divorce is a painful ending of the marital relationship that is started by two people with love, support, and care. It is a final solution for long-lasting fights and unsolvable problems in marriage. Divorce is a legal term that represents the dissolution of a marriage process. People have a lot of choices for the type of divorce they want to apply for.

The type of divorce to be taken completely depends upon the situation, relations, and other conditions of the couple. There are some regular types of divorce such as contested litigation, legal separation, uncontested divorce, etc. Collaborative divorce is one of the options available.

The meaning of Collaborative divorce

A collaborative divorce is a process of divorce that is carried out on the basis of mutual understanding and conclusive discussions with the help of professionals in family law. In brief, it is a type of divorce without a court hearing or a settlement outside the court.

Collaborative divorce is for couples who want to avoid the complicated procedural appeals and can come to an agreement on the term of divorce. It is a better option for those who have respect for each other and think logically about the future in long term.

Some reasons behind the choice of collaborative divorce The couples go for a collaborative divorce if they have taken a decision of separation keeping intact respect and freedom of each other.

Some benefits of collaborative divorce are:

  • The main advantage of a collaborative divorce is a couple has the opportunity to settle matters outside the court. That means they have full control over the result and do not have to wait for the decisions of the court. Also, there is more possibility of having a fair deal with your partner by negotiating in discussions.
  • Collaborative divorce is the best option to prevent your children from the harmful consequences of a divorce. Often, it is observed that divorce of parents badly on the mental and physical development of a child. By opting for a collaborative divorce, you can handle the children in a better way together rather than fighting for their custody in the court. Thus, it is proved beneficial for deciding a parenting plan that is most suitable to your needs.
  • A divorce that is taken by a discussion with the lawyers and attorneys from both sides, is cost-saving and trouble-free. It involves less documentation and therefore, requires a fewer amount of fees to be paid. Also, it saves time as a couple can decide the meetings for negotiation according to their convenience.
  • The process of collaborative divorce is much easier and stress-free. As parties agree on the issues related to property and children by discussion only, there is no space for conflicts and accusations from both sides. Therefore, it involves lower amounts of stress and mental pressures. People suffer from depression and mental imbalance situations during the process of regular dissolution. A collaborative divorce is an effective way to avoid it.

The court procedure and requirements for collaborative divorce

Collaborative divorce or a mutual settlement is completely based on the Act of Uniform Collaborative Law. It was initiated in the United States and till today has been adopted by few states like Nevada, Texas, Utah, etc. It is under a process of acceptance in other states.

According to the Collaborative law, the requirements for a divorce are:

  1. A mutual agreement of settlement of property from both sides
  2. A respective behavior from the spouses and their lawyers
  3. Submission of signed documents of the agreement for entering into collaborative negotiation
  4. An authorized appointment of lawyers or attorneys from both parties to take part in the discussions

The collaborative law requires a couple to file a petition separately for this type of divorce. Once they file a case and signed an agreement for mutual discussion, their lawyers lose the right to represent them in court. From there onwards, the divorce case will follow the collaborative law only.

In a collaborative divorce, there is no mandatory condition for the parties to disclose their assets and liabilities. They can voluntarily do so if they choose. If the collaborative agreement fails due to any reason, the spouses can retain the case in a regular hearing in the court.

Sometimes, attorneys withdraw from the agreement and new lawyers replace them to continue the discussions with a fresh start. If the parties come to conclusion, then they will have to approach the local judge to approve the divorce and sign an agreement.

In this manner, collaborative divorce is a kind of divorce that requires minimum formal procedures and results in a favorable deal.

No-Fault Divorce

Sometimes, the couple who have taken marital vows for a lifetime, want to break the bond due to continual differences between them. They want freedom for the commitment to being together. It may happen that none of the partners is guilty of breaking the marriage. The couple may take a decision for divorce mutually. For such spouses, no-fault divorce is a very good option.

No-fault divorce is a divorce that is based on the reasons for unsolvable disputes or major differences between spouses. If a couple is taking a divorce without alleging each other guilty for making harm to the institution of marriage, it is considered a no-fault divorce.

This type of divorce is also known as the quick settlement where both partners agree on the terms of the divorce and thus without any appeals and hearings against the decision of the court.

Need for No-fault divorce Act

Before the introduction of an Act for no-fault divorce, there was only one option available for a couple who want to take a divorce. That is a fault or contested divorce. That means, even if a couple wishes to take a divorce with mutual consent, one of them is needed to be proved guilty at the time of a court hearing. Otherwise, spouses would not be able to get a divorce.

Because of such clauses and conditions in Family Law for divorce, people started to prove adultery and cheating by using fake evidence in order to get a divorce.

Some advocates and judges opposed this fashion as it was the perjury of the court. In order to avoid such mal-practices and false hearings, some experts of law introduced the concept of no-fault divorce. The Act provided relief to many couples that wanted to get divorced with mutual understanding and dignity keeping respect intact.

Requirements for a no-fault divorce

As there are no grounds or faults to prove, the necessary conditions for no-fault divorce are not as many as regular divorces. Also, the process for this type of divorce is quick and can be finished with one or two hearings only.

The main requirement for this divorce is mutual consent from both partners. Without the submission of this agreement, a divorce procedure will not proceed further. Some states require a couple to agree on the property issues and child custody to avoid complexities in the issue.

As no-fault divorce assist to keep the respect and freedom of a person intact during the procedure of a divorce, there is no need for the appeals and forms like in a regular dissolution.

A no-fault divorce is granted on the grounds like:

  1. Irreconcilable or major differences
  2. Unfortunate breakdown of a marriage
  3. Loss of love and commitment

Procedure for divorce without common grounds:

The procedure for a no-fault type of divorce varies according to state to state. Some states require a couple to be legally separated before a divorce while some states mandate divorce counseling for such spouses.

However, the basic procedure of divorce remains the same. It starts with a divorce initialization that is filing for a divorce. After the filing of the petition, attorneys of the parties will meet and resolve the conflicts regarding property division and child support, if any. When a couple agrees on the formal settlement, the final divorce order is passed in court after a waiting period of six months.

Pros of divorce without faults

There are many opinions about a system of no-fault divorce. But, it is a popular option the couples who wish to apply for divorce. This preference is mainly because:

  • It eliminates the possibility of complications in a divorce procedure. This makes it fast and easily manageable for couples
  • It avoids the emotional torture and mental problems that are involved in a regular contested divorce. A couple can handle the whole process with peaceful divorce as they both agree to take a divorce
  • Effects on children in such type of divorce are less harmful. The parents can maintain healthy relations with children. That prevents the chances of mental breakdown in children.

Cons of no-fault divorce

The Act of no-fault divorce is accepted by some of the states in the United States by modifying it according to the state requirements. But, there are still many adversities that are put forward regarding this bill. Some of them are:

  • According to some advocates, a no-fault divorce reduces the sincerity and faithfulness in the traditional marriage system. It allows people for an early divorce which can be dangerous for the marriage and family system in the society.
  • Some observers express a fear of misuse of the Act by the young generation who are prompt to find an easy solution over the problems between them. They may not put sincere efforts to save their marriage if they are permitted for no-grounds divorce.

Summary Divorce

A marriage is considered as the companionship of two persons bonded by marital vows. The legal implication of the term is a bond of commitment and love that is accepted by a couple voluntarily. But, sometimes things go wrong in an unexpected way. At this time, many couples opt for the solution by separating from each other in a legal way. This process is known as a divorce. Thus, divorce is a disintegration of a marriage. It can be taken in various forms. Summary divorce is one of them.

What is meant by summary divorce?

Summary divorce or summary dissolution, as it is called in some states, is a type of divorce available in almost every state. It is the best way to get divorced for a couple who are not married for a long duration and have no issues. The summary dissolution act is beneficial for spouses which want to have an easy and simplified divorce. The court grants divorce on the mutual consideration of both parties, which is called summary dissolution.

Advantages of summary divorce

Summary divorce has many advantages, especially for people who want to get rid of a marriage in a short time.

Some of the benefits are:

  • The documents and forms to be submitted for the summary dissolution are lesser than other types of divorces. A couple has to file an initial petition and just a few more forms to get a summary dissolution. As there are no appeals regarding property and children, the quantity of paperwork is minimal.
  • A summary dissolution requires one or two hearings only. So, a couple has to appear in court very few times depending on their case.
  • A procedure for the summary divorce is time-saving. As there are no discussions of conflicts on issues related to divorce, the final order of a divorce can be obtained within a short time. Also, it saves money for both parties.
  • A summary divorce is hassle-free and therefore, causes less emotional trouble to spouses. Generally, it is carried on the mutual agreement. So, neither of the parties faces mental problems like major depression or emotional imbalance. These are some of the benefits of summary divorce. But, in order to apply for this type of divorce, it is necessary to know the eligibility conditions for a summary divorce.

Eligibility conditions for summary dissolution:

  • The couple opting for a divorce is not married for more than 5 years on the date of filing a petition for a summary divorce. Generally, the five years span or less than that is allowed in this case.
  • The couple that wants to get summary dissolution, must not be having any children whether is natural or adopted. If the spouses have children, they all should be major. A couple with minor children is not allowed for this kind of divorce.
  • For summary divorce, the other important condition is, a couple should own a negligible property in order to apply for summary resolution. Ownership of a home or mortgaged home is not allowed under this clause.
  • A couple must not have real or virtual community property more than the amount of $35000. These criteria will vary according to the states. But, the figure will range between $24000 to $ 38000. it would not go beyond that. Community property here is considered as the property that is acquired by a couple during the time period of their marriage.
  • The separate property that is property earned before the marriage individually, must not be more than the prescribed limit. The limit for this clause is around $30000 including the property owned by you and your partner together.
  • Same with property, the community obligations that are the joint debts of a couple should not exceed $10000.
  • An important condition for summary divorce is the spouse should not be pregnant at the time of filling the form for a divorce.
  • The couple has to get agreed on the property and other related issues. Otherwise, it will turn to an uncontested divorce hearing. Also, both parties should agree on no spousal support settlement. Neither of them will be eligible for spousal support after a divorce.

The process of getting a summary divorce

The procedure of summary divorce involves few steps. As the usual divorce case, it will start from the filing of the petition and then steps are as below:

  1. A couple that wants to get divorced using the summary dissolution act, has to fill form FL-800 as the initiative for the legal process.
  2. After the identification of spouses, they need to declare the income and property by filling FL-150. Also, they need to submit a mutual agreement about the property issues at this time.
  3. The court will give final consent to divorce after the waiting period of six months. If any of the spouses is not satisfied with the decision, he or she may file FL-830 to switch over the case to regular dissolution. Otherwise, spouses can continue the process so summary divorce by submitting an FL-820 form.

In this way, a summary divorce is a good option for couples who do not have property issues and have no minor children.

Uncontested Divorce

A legal separation or a divorce is a painful incident in the life of a person. Though it is an inevitable decision to solve extreme conflicts between spouses, it is always difficult to go through the actual process and prepare yourself for a lot of accusations and blames in a normal divorce hearing.

To avoid this, an uncontested divorce is the best option for a couple who wishes to take a divorce with mutual consent.

Uncontested divorce as the name suggests is a divorce that is taken without complex appeals and blame games. It is a type of divorce that can be opted by a couple who can come to a mutual agreement of divorce. It is different from regular dissolution as neither of the party forces a divorce on another.

The petition for divorce is filed by both parties jointly. So, there is no question of denying to accept a divorce petition in this case. It is known for an easy procedure and quick result.

Advantages of an uncontested divorce

An uncontested divorce is another form of legal separation that is carried out by spouses together. But, the major difference between the legal separation and an uncontested divorce is that the divorce without conflicts is a permanent separation while legal separation is regarded as a partial divorce only.

Some advantages of an uncontested divorce are:

  • The main benefit of an uncontested divorce is its low cost. As there are no appeals and appeals against the court decision, the fees of the court petitions are saved. Also, if the parties agree on every issue related to a divorce, there is no real need to hire an attorney or a lawyer. That saves a large part of divorce costs. It helps to protect the financial stability you have earned through the years and helps you to use your money for life after divorce or for your kids.
  • The other advantage of an uncontested divorce is, it helps to achieve the best and favorable deal for both parties. The spouses can control the negotiation process and bring out a quick result rather than fighting in a court for settlement of issues. If you are on talking terms with your partner, you can avoid the accusations and responses and maintain a good relationship with children and ex-spouse even after a divorce. That saves you from the emotional turmoil and its harmful effects on personal and professional life.

The legal procedure of an uncontested divorce

An uncontested divorce is one of the types of divorce that is available in almost every state by now. The initial process of an uncontested divorce is not different from that of a regular divorce. The minute details and requirements vary according to the state in which a divorce petition is filed.

The common steps that are followed for an uncontested divorce are:

  1. Filing of a petition: The legal procedure of an uncontested divorce starts with a filing of a divorce petition or a divorce complaint, as it is called in some states, in local county court. Generally for this type of divorce, a joint petition is filed as both parties take a divorce decision together. Before filing for a petition, it is necessary to accomplish the state residency requirements for that particular state.
  2. Disclosures and agreement: The next step after filing a petition is the voluntary disclosure of income, assets, and property. It is not compulsory in an uncontested divorce as the partners may come to an agreement on the property distribution and custody of the child even before filing for a divorce.
  3. Negotiations: If the spouses are not able to come with a final settlement on the issues related to property division and child support or alimony, they can opt for negotiations with the help of attorneys. It is basically a settlement made outside the court. So, judges would not participate till the applicant file for a contested divorce. The negotiations can last for a long period if the partners are firm on solving the issue by discussion only.
  4. Divorce order: After finalizing the agreement on conflicting issues, the partners may approach the court to have temporary orders of a divorce. They may ask for stay orders in case they need to do so. If both parties remain constant on their acceptance of temporary orders and terms of the divorce, divorce will be granted after a period of six months.

In this way, an uncontested divorce is a convenient way to resolve the issue of divorce with dignity and privacy. But, it is important to remember that it may not be a suitable option in case of divorce for the abusive and cruel behavior of a partner.

Legal Separation

Legal separation is a stage where the spouses are physically and legally separated, but their marriage proceeding remains valid. Thus, they are not allowed to re-marry during the time of legal separation.

It is the best way for people who do not want to end their marriage but still want to stay separate from their partner. Legal separation is allowed by law in almost all states in the United States excluding a few like Texas, Florida, Georgia, etc.

How to differentiate between a legal separation and a divorce?

Legal separation is a term that explains a clause in a family law that allows the partners to remain married but live separately. It is just a part of a divorce but not a complete divorce.

So, spouses are not permitted legally to marry another person even if they are separated. There is a provision in the Act for legal separation in which the reconciliation of partners is allowed. They do not require to re-marry each other in this case.

A divorce is the complete dissolution of a marriage. In legal terms, it is legal separation, but that is for a lifetime. Partners can re-marry after they take divorce from each other. So, these are some of the differences between the two concepts. A divorce is a wider concept in which a legal separation is included.

How to file for a legal separation?

A legal separation is an option to divorce. Many spouses use it in order to avoid the complexities and lengthiness of the divorce procedure. Compared to a divorce, legal separation orders are issued immediately and come into effect from the day of enactment. It is important to know about the filing for legal separation.

The steps for a case of legal separation are:

  • The first and important step is to have all the necessary information about the term of legal separation. You need to have a clear idea and purpose before you file a petition for a legal separation. For this, you can use online resources or approach an attorney to give you guidance in this matter. Either you can choose to file a case for separation by yourself or you can hire a lawyer to work for you.
  • The next step is to fulfill residency requirements for the state in which you are planning to file a petition. The state residency requirements vary from state to other states. So, it is necessary to accomplish the formalities before you file a petition.
  • Once you complete the necessary paperwork regarding residency requirements, you can file a petition for the legal separation. If you are filing it jointly, there is no question of waiting for a response from a partner. Otherwise, the petition must be served to another spouse. The specific time period is given to other parties to file a counter-petition or accept the served one.
  • With the petition, you have to file an agreement stating provisions and preferences regarding the issue of child custody, child support, alimony, etc. Make sure that you include detailed information about the joint assets, their status after legal separation, debt division, etc.
  • In case your partner agrees to all terms of a legal separation mentioned in an agreement, the only formality that remains is that of signing the agreement. After the signing of an agreement, it is notarized in order to make it legally acceptable.
  • If your partner or you do not agree on the provisions of a legal separation, an appeal can be filed in court. The judge will govern the hearing and settle the matter with a final order of separation.

Essential points to remember after a legal separation

To know how to file legal separation is not sufficient for an individual who wants to opt for separation than a divorce. It is necessary to have a practical sense of how things work after a legal separation.

The following points may help to have a further idea about this:

  • After you decide on a legal separation, ensure that you remove your name from all the jointly owned assets and debts. This category includes the rental agreement, mortgage plans, debts from banks, etc.
  • Specify the valuable assets you wish to leave with your partner and make a list of them with approval from the opposite party. Legal separation may lead to a divorce, so it is required to sort out matters related to property as soon as you get separated from your spouse.
  • Make sure that you freeze all the joint accounts in the bank. If there is any misuse of your savings and fraud during the separation, you can be held responsible if you do not take this precaution.

In this way, the legal separation filing process can be explained. A legal separation can lead to either a divorce or a reconciliation. That totally depends on the situation between a particular couple and their priorities.

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