Is there such a thing as a no-fault divorce?
Meaning, every divorce in the State of Arizona is a no fault divorce. Every single one!
Oftentimes, when people ask us for this, they mean they want an uncontested divorce. This type of divorce can also be known as a “default divorce” and we believe that’s where the confusion lies. In a default divorce, one person (the “petitioner” serves the other with papers. If the other person (“respondent”) does not contest, then the petitioner wins by default. The other person may not contest because they agree, or maybe they don’t agree, but they miss the court’s 20 day deadline to file a response. (30 days for out-of-state respondents.)
Not my fault!
Occasionally, a client will ask for a no-fault divorce because they mean to say that it’s not their fault. For example, if there was infidelity, the spouse that was cheated on will want the fault of the divorce to be placed on the cheater. However, because Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, the court never assigns blame to either party. In other words, once you are in court, the reasons for getting divorced will not be heard by the judge. We can certainly understand how an affair or some other terrible act would make you feel as though you should be entitled to extra compensation. And, in some states, that is actually true. Not all states are no-fault states, but Arizona is.