What is “no fault” divorce?

In Florida, no fault divorce means that the courts do not consider whose actions “caused” the divorce. The court does not consider who cheated or who left when divorcing the parties. The two options parties can list for a reason leading to divorce is either that the parties’ marriage is “irretrievably broken” or that one of the parties has been adjudged “mentally incapacitated for a period of 3 years” before the filing of the petition. Those are the only two options Florida provides.


“Irretrievably broken” is a legal term that courts and parties use to describe a marriage that cannot be repaired. Many times a judge will ask the parties if counseling would help get their marriage back on track. An attorney may ask you this during a consultation also. Attorneys should be able to point you in the direction of resources to help marriages get back on track, if that is what you are seeking. Sadly, sometimes marriages are past the point of no return. In this case, your marriage is irretrievably broken.


“Mentally incapacitated for a period of 3 years” is a very rare option. While many people facing divorce believe their spouse is crazy, this option means that a doctor determined your spouse is mentally incapacitated. This also means that your spouse has been mentally incapacitated for at least 3 years before you file for divorce. This likely means that your spouse is either living in a mental hospital/institution/home or that they became homeless after the diagnoses and you parted ways. If you do not know where your spouse is, this could cause problems for service of process in your divorce after you file. You may want to try to locate your spouse before filing for divorce. Ask their friends and family when they last saw your spouse. Use social media tools such as Facebook to try and track them down.


No Fault divorce allows the parties to get divorced without consideration as to fault or blame. At the same time, some of the reasons for divorce can be considered during the divorce. For example, if one party cheated and spent monies on a hotel room while having an affair, that money could be considered “waste of marital assets” to be considered during equitable distribution of your assets or liabilities. If one party abandoned the family 3 years ago and has had no contact since, that abandonment could be considered when deciding the Parenting Plan for the parties’ children and/or child support.


No Fault divorce will allow you to get divorced without the added extra stress of reliving the reason of how you got here in the first place. There are probably many reasons that your marriage failed and many reasons you are seeking divorce. You may just not be compatible partners anymore. To legally end your marriage, you only need to show that your marriage is irretrievably broken.

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