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Does someone have to be at fault in a divorce?

People often head to divorce court thinking they need to prove something, showing that it's their spouse's fault the relationship has ended. After all, in other cases -- like personal injury cases -- fault is very important to getting the outcome you're after.

However, you should know that North Carolina residents live in a no-fault state. It doesn't matter why you're getting divorced. If you want to split up, you can. You don't have to prove that you're doing it because of what your spouse has done or show that you tried to make the marriage work. If the court rules in favor of your divorce, it will do so without citing fault at all.

That's not to say that the reasons for the divorce don't matter. They can play a big role in other parts of the process and in the court orders that are handed out along with it.

For example, if your spouse was abusive to your child and that's why you want to end the marriage, it may not technically matter for the divorce, but it makes a big difference in deciding who gets custody of the child. You may even be able to get a restraining order against your spouse if you don't think you and your child are safe.

So, on one hand, it's important to know that you don't have to prove fault to end your marriage. At the same time, be sure you know exactly what you want to accomplish with child custody, child support, parental rights, alimony and more. The evidence you bring to court can still impact these rulings.

Source: Women's Law, "Divorce," accessed Oct. 12, 2016

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