Which States Have No Fault Divorce?

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Every state has some type of no fault divorce law in place. Some states impose stricter restrictions on no fault divorces than others, but every state permits couples to start and complete the divorce process without having to state a fault-based reason for their marriage ending.

A no-fault divorce is any divorce in which the spouse asking for divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse did anything wrong. Often, it is enough simply to state that the parties cannot successfully get along anymore. Every U.S. state has a no-fault divorce law, but a few require a period of separation before a no-fault divorce will be granted.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

Every state offers some type of no-fault divorce option. The requirements for no-fault divorce differ from state to state.

A no-fault divorce is one where neither partner has to state or prove that misconduct occurred to cause their marriage to break down. Often, the reason stated in a no-fault divorce petition is "irreconcilable differences" or that the marriage is "irretrievably broken." Whatever verbiage the couple uses, they are agreeing that their marriage is over when they begin the no-fault divorce process.

No-Fault Divorce States

The states that offer no-fault divorce without requiring a period of separation are: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

In these states, a couple may obtain a no-fault divorce without first meeting any separation requirement. Some of these states also offer legal separation instead of divorce.

No-Fault Divorce With Separation Requirement

Some states require the parties to live apart for a minimum length of time before seeking a no-fault divorce. The length of time required varies by state and ranges from 180 days to five years. The states that require a period of separation, and the minimum length of separation, are:

  • Alabama - 2 years 
  • Connecticut - 18 months 
  • Hawaii - 2 years 
  • Idaho - 5 years 
  • Illinois - 2 years 
  • Louisiana - 180 days 
  • Minnesota - 180 days 
  • Nevada - 1 year 
  • Ohio - 1 year 
  • Pennsylvania - 2 years 
  • Rhode Island - 3 years 
  • Tennessee - 2 years 
  • Texas - 3 years 
  • Utah - 3 years 
  • West Virginia - 1 year

No-Fault or Fault Divorce

Some U.S. states offer both a no-fault and a fault divorce option. Couples who do not want to observe the waiting period requirement are allowed to file for fault divorce. Some common grounds for fault divorce include cruelty, adultery, desertion, confinement in prison or a similar institution, and inability to perform sexual intercourse, if this was not disclosed prior to the marriage. States that offer both no-fault and fault divorce include:

  • Alabama 
  • Alaska 
  • Connecticut 
  • Delaware 
  • Georgia 
  • Idaho
  • Illinois 
  • Maine 
  • Massachusetts 
  • Mississippi 
  • New Hampshire 
  • New Mexico 
  • North Dakota 
  • Ohio 
  • Oklahoma 
  • Pennsylvania 
  • Rhode Island 
  • South Dakota 
  • Tennessee 
  • Texas 
  • Utah 
  • West Virginia

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About the Author

A.L. Kennedy is a professional grant writer and nonprofit consultant. She has been writing and editing for various nonfiction publications since 2004. Her work includes various articles on nonprofit law, human resources, health and fitness for both print and online publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Alabama.

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