Marriage is Not to be Undertaken Lightly

Depending on whether you believe in God or practice a faith based religion your views will differ on this subject. There is definitely a negative interaction between marriage in a church and civil marriage laws. I say this because in so called “no fault” divorce states of which are the majority. See sources below. Either party can run into court and say “no fault” and take half the marital assets going their separate way. 

Of course, many of us have had our awareness to this sharpened and realize that without a good prenuptial agreement (even if there are few assets at the beginning of the marriage) either party can be “taken to the cleaners,” with little effort and no fault.

Think carefully. How long have you known this person before you marry? Does this person have a career, job and is he/she capable of supporting themselves if the marriage dissolves? If not, then the party that is making the money will be on the hook for “maintenance” (previously known as alimony) and if there are children, child support.

Couples often make sure they have a Will and Estate Plan that takes into account who will raise their children and get their assets if they die, but so many of us failed to see the looming danger of marriage dissolution in the majority of U.S. states where either party can simply dissolve the marriage for any reason with no fault and take half the marital assets.

Years ago I was asked by a business colleague about getting married and as the conversation evolved toward the business end of marriage I simply said, “If you love her, you don’t have to be married to prove it. You are just as capable of being faithful and loving whether you enter into the civil laws in the state you’re married in or not, but you will be better protected by having your own civil law (contract or prenuptial agreement) because so many states are ‘no fault’.” If you decide to risk it, then ask yourself ‘am I OK with giving half of all my assets to this person if the marriage should end for ANY reason?’ If the answer is yes, then marry her.” My friend did not marry and I believe he made the right choice.

“All states offer some version of no-fault divorce. California was the first to pass no-fault legislation in 1970, while New York brought up the rear by finally passing a no-fault law in 2010. As a result, no matter where you live, you can get a divorce by simply telling the court that your marriage is over. You no longer have to prove that your spouse caused the breakup. The similarity ends there, however. Individual states put their own spin on no-fault rules.” Source:

“States with No-Fault Divorce and No Waiting Period

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 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 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” Source:  

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