Which States Are No-Fault Divorce States?


A no-fault divorce allows a couple to divorce without either spouse having to prove the other engaged in misconduct. All states allow no-fault divorces, with some requiring a specified number of months of separation before the divorce is officially granted.


  • To obtain a no-fault divorce, one spouse must declare a reason for the divorce that is recognized by the respective state. In most states, a spouse will declare the couple is no longer compatible.


  • The charge that the couple is no longer compatible is known in various legal terms as "incompatibility," "irreconcilable differences" or "irremediable breakdown of the marriage."


  • In certain states, the couple must live apart for a period of months or years before they can obtain a no-fault divorce. Vermont and the District of Columbia require a six-month separation, whereas Rhode Island, Texas and Utah require a three-year separation.


  • A fault divorce can be granted when the required justifications are present. The traditional fault justifications are cruelty, adultery, desertion for a specified length of time, confinement in prison for a set number of years and physical inability to engage in sexual intercourse (if it was not disclosed before marriage).


  • Some individuals choose a fault divorce because they do not want to go through the period of separation required by certain state law for a no-fault divorce.


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