In Kentucky, only the fault of the spouse seeking alimony is considered relevant.
When a marriage ends, states typically divide property in one of two ways: community property rules or equitable distribution. Community property rules mean that marital assets are split among the parties, while equitable distribution means that marital property is split fairly but not always equal according to rules outlined by state law.
Understanding "Fair and Equitable" Division of Property in a No-Fault Divorce
Judges often have broad discretion in equitable distribution states and can consider any of the relevant factors outlined by law, including the length of the marriage or the fault of one or more parties. Economic fault refers to actions on the part of one of the spouses that deplete the marital estate or that misuse marital assets.
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Some examples of economic fault include hiding assets, spending joint funds on an addiction or on an extramarital sex partner, destroying property, engaging in abnormal or excessive spending, fraudulently selling or transferring property, or other unfair conduct that is designed to deprive the other spouse of what should rightfully be considered part of the marital estate subject to equitable distribution.
When one party engages in this type of economic misconduct, an offender may be awarded a lesser share of marital property or the court may consider the value of the assets prior to his or her wrongful behavior in dividing up property among the couple. In Hawaii, there is no specific statute specifying that economic misconduct should impact property division and case law on the issue is mixed.
THE DIVORCE PROCEEDING
In order for fault to play a role in a divorce, the wrongful acts of the at-fault party must be proven in court. It is the obligation of the party claiming fault to meet the burden of proving these wrongful acts.
An experienced divorce and family law attorney in your state can provide assistance with defining the types of fault behaviors that can lead to an at-fault divorce and can provide assistance with proving that the misconduct occurred. Fault-based divorce laws required a person wanting a divorce to sue his or her spouse and prove the spouse committed specific bad behavior-adultery, physical abuse, cruelty, abandonment, drug or alcohol dependence, etc.
The Effect of an At Fault Divorce
Often, courts would favor the aggrieved party in property division, support awards, and child custody decisions. A couple who wanted to divorce often had to collude to create a false reason, such as fake infidelity, and perjure themselves in court to obtain a divorce.
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Attorneys and courts believed that the fault-based system created dishonesty in the legal process, unnecessary acrimony, and increased litigation expenses if one party did not want to divorce. Oklahoma passed the first no-fault divorce law in , but no-fault divorce gained national attention in when California enacted a no-fault divorce law.
“Economic Theory’s Stance On No-Fault Divorce”
No-fault divorce only require one spouse to allege and show that there is a permanent breakdown in the marriage to obtain a divorce. The last fault-based divorce state, New York, amended its divorce laws to no-fault in All states are currently no-fault divorce states. The breadwinning spouse might want to try to present evidence to the court that the other spouse is at fault for the end of the relationship-perhaps for infidelity-to try to get the court to award an unequal division of the assets or not award spousal support.
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