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Wisconsin Family Law Articles
What is a No-Fault Divorce

What is a No-Fault Divorce

When a couple is going through a divorce, there can be a lot of finger-pointing. While both parties may feel the other is to blame for the end of the marriage, proving who is more responsible is not required in a no-fault divorce. So, what is a no-fault divorce?

What is a No-Fault Divorce?

A no-fault divorce is a type of divorce that does not require either party to prove who was responsible for the end of the marriage. All that matters is that the marriage is no longer sustainable, and there is no chance the couple can work out their differences. Wisconsin is a no-fault divorce state meaning the only thing that must be established is that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. In other states, a divorcing party could state other grounds such as cruelty or adultery as their reason for leaving their spouse. In those states, someone pleading divorce on these grounds would have to provide evidence to support their allegations. Wisconsin parties merely have to demonstrate that the relationship is over, and it is irreparable.

Does No-Fault Mean Negative Conduct Does Not Matter?

Wisconsin is a community property state, and, in general, a couple's marital property is going to belong equally to both parties. However, the court is going to focus on putting the parties in a relatively equitable position following divorce. If one side shows that the other's conduct unfairly depleted marital funds, the judge may decide to give the other party more of the couple’s marital assets to make up the difference. For example, if a spouse had an affair and used marital funds to take extravagant trips with their extramarital partner, the divorce court could consider this information when dividing the community assets.

The court can also consider how a party's conduct may have an impact on the couple's children when making decisions about custody and child placement. For instance, when a party has been violent towards their spouse or children, the court is going to consider this fact and treat it very seriously. The offending parent may not get custodial rights or unsupervised child placement. An adulterous parent may end up with limited rights if it is shown that he or she has negatively impacted their kids through their extramarital relationship.

Karyn Youso is an experienced divorce attorney who can assist you in examining your rights and options. Come in and let us take a “first look” at your circumstances and get the information you need to make informed decisions. Please contact us at First Look Family Law to schedule a consultation.