Causes of Divorce: Habitual Drunkenness

By Beverly Bird

In 2010, New York became the last jurisdiction to pass provisions for no-fault divorce, so all 50 states have now moved away from requiring that spouses cast blame to end their marriages. In fact, many states decline to recognize any fault grounds at all. Among those remaining, some permit divorce on the grounds that your spouse is habitually drunk.

Habitual Drunkenness as Grounds

Habitual doesn't necessarily mean constantly. Your spouse need not be a diagnosed alcoholic; it is sufficient that his drinking has caused your marriage to break down. It must be a regular habit, enough so that it has interfered with your relationship and his ability to provide for the family.

Proving Your Grounds

You can't simply tell the court that your spouse is habitually drunk and expect the judge to grant you a divorce. You must prove your allegations -- and typically, the burden is twofold. You must establish that he drank to excess, and then you must prove that the habit harmed your marriage. This can be a significant challenge, because most states allow your spouse to raise legal defenses against your allegations. He can tell the court that you forgave him -- and if he never became intoxicated again after this point -- the grounds for divorce are invalidated. He can allege that you did something wrong, as well, such as an affair that caused him to begin drinking. He can allege that you encouraged him to imbibe. If he can prove any of these things, you don't have grounds. However, a no-fault divorce would still be an option.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
What Goes to the Essence of Marriage in Annulment Cases?


Related articles

The 12 Grounds for a Divorce in Mississippi

Mississippi recognizes 12 fault-based grounds for divorce, and if you choose to file for divorce on one of these grounds, you bear the burden of proving to the court that the ground is appropriate for your divorce. Mississippi also recognizes no-fault divorce, and many filers choose no-fault grounds since proving fault often takes longer and is more difficult.

How to Prove At-Fault Divorce in Pennsylvania

Fault-based divorces are somewhat rare in Pennsylvania, especially since the state legislature amended Pennsylvania's Divorce Code in 2005, permitting couples to divorce by mutual consent, a form of no-fault divorce. Pennsylvania courts don’t consider marital misconduct when dividing property, so the consent option is usually the easiest, least stressful and least expensive method by which to end a marriage. If you nevertheless want to file for divorce on fault grounds, Pennsylvania law does not make the process easy.

Adultery & Legal Rights

Adultery is considered a crime in some states, although spouses typically don't go to jail over it. If you or your partner has strayed, more pressing concerns are how it might affect your divorce and what rights you have when it comes to defending yourself or receiving recompense for it as an innocent spouse. The effect of adultery on your divorce depends a great deal on what state you live in.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

When a Spouse Will Not Agree to a Divorce in Maryland

Sometimes, ending a marriage is not something both spouses want. While divorce may be the right choice in the eyes of ...

Guide to Fault Divorce in Massachusetts

Before a Massachusetts court can grant your divorce petition, it must have a reason for the divorce, called grounds. ...

Fault Vs. Non-fault Divorce

Not all states offer a choice between fault and no-fault grounds when you file for divorce. Some, such as California, ...

Is the Absence of Sexual Relations Grounds for Divorce?

Sexual behavior outside the marriage and the lack of sexual relations within the marriage can serve as grounds for ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED