fault divorce

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

A tradition that required one spouse to prove that the other spouse was legally at fault, to obtain a divorce. The "innocent" spouse was then granted the divorce from the "guilty" spouse. The traditional fault grounds for divorce are adultery, cruelty, desertion, confinement in prison, physical incapacity, and incurable insanity. Today, all states offer no-fault divorce, but quite a few states also still allow a spouse to allege fault in obtaining a divorce, and some states also allow the court to consider fault in dividing property or awarding custody or visitation.

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.