Who's Fault? No Fault? What?

assets in divorce divorce faqs marriage Dec 07, 2023


Hi, everybody! Suzanne Grandchamp here. Divroce attorney, author, coach and Tarotier. A ‘tarotier’ is the French term for a tarot card reader, which I do as a part of introspective spot coaching for my clients.

But today, we’re not talking about the Tarot.

Today we’re going to talk about fault in the context of divorce.

Just a reminder, this is general information and not legal advice, which varies by state and by jurisdiction. If you’re contemplating a divorce, I encourage you to consult with an attorney licensed to practice law in the state in which you live.

How is Fault Factored Into Divorce?

Alright. I practiced as a divorce attorney for twenty-five years and I specialized in helping my clients divorce cluster-B partners. In other words, my clients were leaving narcissistically-abusive relationships. 

Almost every prospective client wants to know how fault is factored into the divorce. This is especially true if the person with whom I’m meeting has been cheated on or suffered from emotional or physical abuse.

In this instance, I have to be the bearer of bad news. Generally speaking, fault never factors into the legal equation. I know, I know. It seems like it should be, especially if you’re on the end of some abusive or untoward behavior. I mean, if you’ve been cheated on, it sure seems like your partner’s behavior should factor into an assessment regarding their credibility in this whole process. If they lied to you, why wouldn’t they lie to the court?

Many of my other clients don’t understand how moral turpitude isn’t factored into decisions involving parenting time or the division of the assets or the income. In fact, the angriest clients I’ve ever represented are those people who’ve been cheated on and who have then been asked to pay spousal support to the cheating partner, which seems so wrong.

Fault is not generally factored into the equation, because the court already has enough on its plate regarding custody, the parenting time schedules, child support, maintenance and the
division of assets and liabilities.


Is There Any Hope?


That said, fault can sometimes come in through the back door. If your spouse is still dating their affair partner, that relationship often comes under scrutiny in assessing custody and parenting time with your children.

And, if your spouse spent a lot of money on the affair partner, say the purchase of expensive trips or jewelry or rent or even the purchase of a house – I’ve seen all of these – you might be able to argue that these expenses should reduce your spouse’s future share of the assets or otherwise be repaid to the marital estate.

But if none of this is taken into consideration, the lack of fault- finding and accountability is one that ultimately has to be addressed in a therapeutic and/or a spiritual context. I know that’s cold comfort for most people who suffered at the hands of their spouses, but it’s simply the truth. That’s why having both a therapist and a spiritual practice going through divorce is so

If you need my ultimate resource for navigating the legal, financial, emotional, and personal growth aspects of divorce, you can get my book, Divorce Wisely here.

That’s all for this post. I’ll see you all again soon. Until then, keep your chin up.

Sincerely, Suzanne