In a previous blog post, we explored the concept of no-fault divorce and its positive impact on society

  • 10% reduction in spousal murder rates where women were the victims

  • Divorce became faster, more affordable and less stressful


No-fault divorce allows Americans to end loveless marriages without resorting to accusations of criminal behavior against each other.

Despite criticisms, no-fault divorce remains widely popular among the general public, primarily due to its life-saving implications. In recent times, there have been proposals in conservative-dominated legislatures to overturn the right to no-fault divorce, but as of now, this has only been considered in Texas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Louisiana. Currently, no-fault divorce is still a viable option in every state in the US.

The prospect of overturning no-fault divorce raises concerns, considering the observed benefits. In this blog post, we aim to delve into the potential intra-state and custodial implications that could arise if no-fault divorce were to be overturned in any of the mentioned states.


Child Custody in Divorces Where Fault is Determined:

Courts would continue to prioritize the best interests of the child in determining custody, much like in no-fault divorce states. However, custody may be denied to a parent at fault, depending on the established evidence of issues such as domestic violence, neglect, or abuse. Proving such allegations can be challenging and may put the victim(s) at further risk. Faults that do not compromise the child’s well-being, like extramarital affairs, are likely to have minimal impact on custodial arrangements, though they may affect asset division and alimony.


Colorado Jurisdiction in Divorce:

The term ‘Migratory Divorce,’ was once a relevant concept for couples seeking a simpler divorce, has become obsolete with the prevalence of no-fault divorces. However, if no-fault divorce were overturned, individuals from fault divorce states might migrate to Colorado for a unilateral divorce, especially if abuse is challenging to prove. The ease of the divorce process in Colorado depends on the presence of children, with longer residency requirements and additional complexities in cases involving kids.

In Colorado, if you want to divorce without kids, you need to live in the state for 91 days. As long as you meet the residency requirement, you can divorce someone who lives in another state, while you live in Colorado.

C.R.S. 14-10-106

When children are involved, divorcing someone residing in another state can add significant complexity to the process. Extended residency requirements, the consideration of pre-existing custody agreements by the courts, and various other factors contribute to this complexity. Additionally, all states have laws addressing parental kidnapping, where a child is taken from their state of residence without the other parent’s consent. While some parental kidnapping laws may have provisions allowing domestic violence victims to secure safety for themselves and their children, navigating these legal intricacies becomes highly complicated. Given these nuances, consulting with a lawyer is advisable to determine the most appropriate course of action.



How Would Intra-State Custody Be Impacted by Fault Divorce

The impact on intra-state custody in fault divorce scenarios would vary case by case, emphasizing the need for early legal consultation in the divorce process. While the legal practices for intra-state custody in fault and no-fault divorce states are largely similar, fault divorce states might require staying legally married if abuse cannot be proven. Historical trends suggest a bias towards awarding primary physical custody to women in fault divorce states, but the evolving understanding of gender roles and domestic violence may influence these outcomes differently in the future.

In conclusion, fault divorce’s potential lethal implications for domestic violence victims and the observed benefits of no-fault divorce make the proposals in Louisiana, South Dakota, Texas, and Nebraska concerning. Brooke Alexander is and experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Fort Collins: she and her team stand ready to help individuals navigate the complexities of divorce and custody battles, particularly for victims of domestic violence. If you are in such a situation, there are resources available, and contacting us can help you explore the right course of action. Please schedule an appointment, and we would be honored to represent you.