Divorce in Washington – Fraud and Infidelity: Why Washington State is a Flawless Divorce State | Lasher Crab Apple Sperry & Ebberson PLLC

Too often, infidelity plays a role in the breakdown of a marriage. The spouse who has been cheated on is likely (and understandably) to be angry. But can this infidelity be used against the fraudulent spouse during your divorce? In Washington the answer is no.

Washington is a flawless state, which means that the trial judge does not consider “marital misconduct” in the event of a divorce. This may seem strange and potentially unfair. Why should he or she not face legal consequences for this betrayal? That question can get worse when you look at how other states deal with allegations of infidelity – for example, in North Carolina, a husband was recently awarded millions of dollars after suing his wife’s lover over his 16-month affair. But to be clear, every state has some form of no-fault divorce.

So why not guilt? There are indeed good political reasons. Here are just a few:

  1. The renunciation of fault means that the other spouse cannot prevent the divorce. Think about it – if you have to prove guilty to get a divorce and if the other spouse does not want to get a divorce, then they might stop you from getting divorced by convincing a judge that it is there wasn’t enough fault for the divorce. The other spouse might argue that “there is no guilt, so there is no legal basis as to why we should get a divorce”. In this sense, the flawless position liberalized the idea of ​​divorce; In fact, one of the main reasons states began to enact no-fault laws so that women trapped in an unhappy marriage could freely divorce their husbands without having to prove guilty.
  2. Arguing about guilt is contrary to the basic principles of marriage. Washington is a “jointly owned” state. In short, all property and debts accumulated in the course of a marriage – including the income of both spouses – are considered to be the “common property” of both spouses and the trial judge must divide the property into “just and just”. Behavior. This idea is based on the idea that marriage is like a partnership; and as partners, both spouses share in the assets acquired during the marriage. Adding flaws as a factor throws a wrench into this equation when it comes to the division of property in divorce. Imagine this argument: “I was only 30% to blame for the breakdown, but she was 70% to blame; so I should get 70% of the property. ”We don’t want such decisions to be made, especially since“ mistakes ”are inherently subjective.
  3. The elimination of the error topic saves time and money. It can also keep tension at bay, which is undeniably in the best interests of the children. Many divorces can be costly and lengthy, and this family law battle is almost always emotionally charged. The dispute over fault will only compound an already difficult case. And again, one would have to prove guilty before the judge even asked questions about the division of assets, spousal support, child support, etc.

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