Comparable Rectitude

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Comparable rectitude was a doctrine in divorce law where courts would evaluate the comparative fault of each spouse. Under the harsher doctrine of recrimination, a spouse who was accused of conduct constituting grounds for divorce could, as a defense, accuse the other spouse of similar misconduct. If both spouses were at fault, the court would not allow a divorce. Comparable rectitude ameliorated the harshness of recrimination by allowing the court to analyze and compare the extent of each spouse’s misconduct. If one spouse was less at fault for the dissolution of the marriage, then the court could grant a divorce. The introduction of no-fault divorces in all states has made the use of comparable rectitude obsolete. 

Nevada’s former comparable rectitude statute read

  • In any action for divorce when it shall appear to the court that both husband and wife have been guilty of a wrong or wrongs, which may constitute grounds for a divorce, the court shall not for this reason deny a divorce, but in its discretion may grant a divorce to the party least in fault.

The revised NRS 125.20 currently reads:

  • In any action for divorce when it appears to the court that grounds for divorce exist, the court in its discretion may grant a divorce to either party.

[Last updated in June of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]