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Fault Divorce Lawyer in Minnesota

Fault Divorce Lawyer in Minnesota

All states now have some form of no-fault divorce where. This means when a marriage is irretrievably broken or the spouses have irreconcilable differences, they can divorce in Minnesota without a judge or jury having to find fault. Fault-based divorces, however, are still important in certain cases or required in other cases (e.g., covenant marriages).

At Heritage Law Office, our divorce lawyer in Minnesota knows the law and will advise you on what option for divorce is best in your unique situation. Contact us through our online form or at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation.

What is a Fault-Based Divorce?

While all states vary in what they will allow a divorce between two spouses to be based on, most recognize a “fault divorce.” A fault divorce occurs when one spouse is able to prove that the other spouse committed a “matrimony offense,” which led to the breakup of the marriage. 

Common Matrimony Offenses in Minnesota

Many states share common matrimony offenses that serve as the basis of fault divorces.  It is important to be cautious, though, because these are serious offenses. To falsely accuse another of one of these offenses can lead to problems for you. It's always important to speak to a divorce lawyer experienced with fault divorces in your area.


Adultery occurs when one spouse has sexual relations with someone else outside of the marriage. Most states do not require actual proof of the sexual relations, but that the parties had the “opportunity” and the “inclination” to engage in sexual relations. 


Abandonment is also referred to as desertion. This occurs when one spouse leaves the marital home with no notice and no intention to return. It typically includes one spouse no longer contributing to the financial obligations of the family without a valid reason. 


The definition of cruelty varies in its breadth according to each state's laws. Generally speaking, it is when one spouse treats another in a way that is physically abusive or endangers their mental and/or emotional health. Some states even interpret it to include neglect. 


Incarceration may be the reason for a fault divorce. In most states that allow incarceration as a matrimony offense, the spouse must be confined for a specified minimum amount of time. 

Inability to Have Sexual Intercourse

Many states recognize the inability to engage in sexual intercourse as grounds for a fault divorce. Typically, the inability must have been concealed prior to marriage. Also, this is not to be confused with one spouse voluntarily abstaining from sex. Rather, it is the physical inability to have sexual intercourse. 

Are There Benefits to a Fault-Based Divorce in Minnesota?

While a fault-based divorce may be a little more complicated, there are reasons why it can be beneficial to pursue this route when seeking a divorce.

  • If it is important to you that your former partner's wrongdoing be brought to the attention of the court, then you should pursue a fault-based divorce. For example, the courts in your state may consider the fault when awarding alimony. 
  • In most states, there is not a waiting period for fault-based divorces. Therefore, if you want to expedite the divorce proceedings, it may be in your best interest to pursue a matrimony offense-based divorce. 

There may be other benefits in your state besides those listed here. 

Why Hire a Divorce Attorney in Minnesota?

If you are considering filing for divorce, or if your spouse has filed for divorce, you should seek the counsel of a divorce attorney in your area. They will know the laws in your state and be able to provide you with specific guidance regarding how you should proceed under your particular circumstances. 

Contact Fault Divorce Lawyer in Minnesota Today

Fault-based divorces can be more contentious and last longer than no-fault divorces. At Heritage Law Office, our divorce lawyer in Minnesota wants to make sure you get what you deserve while helping make the whole fault-based divorce process move along without too many hiccups. If you have been wronged and feel that it will make a difference to file a fault-based divorce or if you have been served a divorce based on fault but disagree with it, contact us through our online form or call us directly at 414-253-8500 to schedule a free consultation.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the Difference Between Fault-Based and No-Fault Divorce?

In a fault-based divorce, one spouse must prove that the other spouse's actions led to the breakdown of the marriage. Common grounds for fault-based divorce include adultery, abandonment, and cruelty, among others. On the other hand, no-fault divorce doesn't require any such proof. It's enough to state that the marriage has "irretrievably broken down" or that the spouses have "irreconcilable differences."

2. Can I File for a Fault-Based Divorce in Any State?

Although no-fault divorces are permissible in all 50 states, the availability and rules for fault-based divorces differ from state to state. For example, some states have done away with fault-based divorces altogether, while others offer it as an option alongside no-fault divorce.

3. What Types of Matrimony Offenses Qualify for Fault-Based Divorce?

Matrimony offenses that typically qualify for a fault-based divorce include adultery, abandonment, cruelty, and incarceration. Some states also recognize drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or the inability to have sexual intercourse as valid grounds for fault divorce. Always consult the divorce laws in your jurisdiction as definitions and standards can vary.

4. Do Fault-Based Divorces Require a Separation Period?

In most states that allow fault-based divorces, there is often no mandatory separation period before you can file. This contrasts with some no-fault divorce rules, which may require the spouses to live apart for a certain duration before they can apply for divorce.

5. How Do Courts Typically Handle Asset Distribution in Fault-Based Divorces?

While laws differ, some states may consider the fault of one spouse when dividing assets or determining alimony. For instance, if one spouse was abusive or committed adultery, the court may decide to award a larger portion of marital assets to the innocent spouse. However, not all states consider fault when dividing assets, so it's critical to understand the laws in your specific jurisdiction.

Remember, this article is intended to provide general information. If you are considering a fault-based divorce in Minnesota, consulting an experienced divorce attorney is the most effective way to understand your options and rights.

Contact Us Today

For a comprehensive plan that will meet your needs or the needs of a loved one, contact us today. Located in Downtown Milwaukee, we serve Milwaukee County, surrounding communities, and to clients across Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and California.