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Should I change the declared grounds for divorce after I file?

The decision to file for divorce has all sorts of consequences. A divorce is the final declaration that a person no longer wishes to live with someone they once loved enough to start a long term relationship with them. When getting a divorce, it helps to be fully aware of how the divorce process works. Any applicant should know that there’s more than one kind of divorce available today. They should also understand what will happen when they get a divorce. Many factors go into deciding to get a divorce. Someone may want a divorce because they made a decision to marry fast and realized this is not the relationship they want forever. Another couple may simply come to the realization after many years that they have grown apart and can no longer live together. Still other couples may have engaged in acrimonious fights over the years that are not good for either party’s overall interests. In recent decades, the laws in regards to divorce have changed drastically. What was once a rare procedure often requiring a great deal of money and time is now a process that will affect a significant percentage of all current and future marriages.

The No Fault Divorce Option

There are two types of divorce available in many states. The first is what is known as a no fault divorce. No fault divorces are a recent innovation. In a no fault divorce, the parties are allowed to state that the divorce just happened and neither party is able to live together. A no fault divorce means that the applicants are not making any allegations about the other party in the divorce. They are not necessarily accusing them of action such as adultery that might influence the ultimate outcome of the desired proceedings. Under this system, the parties will typically file for divorce using boilerplate language such as irreconcilable differences. The parties are required to indicate the grounds for the divorce but these grounds do not have any legal sense of admission of fault. Many people like this option because it typically less costly and leads to a quicker divorce. You cannot change your grounds for divorce if you opt for a no fault divorce as there is no fault assigned.

The Fault Divorce Possibility

Another divorce possibility is what is known as the fault divorce. A no fault divorce is available in every state. The same is not true of the fault divorce. When you opt for a fault based divorce, you can pick from several possible reasons for the divorce. These grounds vary from state to state. Popular options for a fault divorce include cruelty, mental illness, criminal behavior and conviction, adultery and mental illness. If you are filing for a fault divorce, you can pick more than one grounds when you submit the petition to the courts. Keep in mind that you will have to provide evidence for your accusations. It’s not enough to say that your spouse is abusive or engaged in criminal behavior. You will need to offer the court system actual evidence such as a criminal conviction or a doctor’s diagnosis. If you cannot prove these allegations during the process of a no fault divorce, remember that it may reflect badly on your ability to tell the court your side of the story and ask for the divorce under the conditions you want. It’s a good idea to make sure you have enough evidence and can probably prove your assertions once you’re in court.

Changing Your Mind Later

While you may start out with one course of action in your mind from the first, you might realize that another course of action is better for you as you continue with the divorce. You can change your mind about what grounds you have for divorce after you file the petition for a fault divorce. A spouse may ask you to change your mind and use different grounds. In turn, they may agree to conditions that you believe are more favorable to you in the long term such as a larger financial settlement or primary custody of your children. A spouse may ask you to switch from a petition of cruelty because this can make him look really bad. Instead, he might ask you to agree to abandonment because he left the home. If he’s agreed to move out, you can get what you want from him without forcing him through a procedure that might hurt his relationships with your children. You can also decide to go for a no fault divorce after filing a fault based divorce. This can be helpful if both parties have worked out their differences and just want to move forward legally. You may realize the no fault divorce is less costly and easier on you, your soon to be former spouse and your children.

Help is Possible

If you are thinking about changing any part of your divorce filing choices, you’ll want to consult with your lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyer can go through the motions necessary to withdraw the petition and fix it. They can also help you decide what changes are in your best interest if indeed changing the grounds for divorce are a good idea at all. Skilled legal counsel is vital when getting a divorce. A lawyer can provide all the help you’ll need during this often highly confusing process.