Divorce for Withholding Affection

By Teo Spengler

Reasons for divorce and grounds for divorce are two different things. A spouse may decide to leave a marriage for any behavior that sufficiently upsets her, such as withholding affection. This reason may or may not provide "fault" grounds for divorce, depending upon the state where she lives. Fortunately, all states now offer no-fault divorces that do not require a spouse to prove that the marriage failed because of something her spouse did.

No-Fault Divorce

The days of having to prove that your spouse did something reprehensible to get out of an unhappy marriage have come to an end. Every state now has laws that enable either spouse to dissolve the marriage without showing that the other party was at fault. The stated grounds for no-fault divorces can be incompatibility or irreconcilable differences. While some states only offer no-fault divorces, others make no-fault divorces an alternative to fault divorces. In either case, a spouse convinced that her partner is withholding affection is entitled to a no-fault divorce.

Assigning Blame

Sometimes, a spouse will choose to pursue a "fault" divorce to expose egregious conduct or to influence child custody or support issues. Traditional fault grounds for divorce include abandonment -- and withholding affection can be argued to constitute abandonment. It might be wise, however, to obtain legal advice before filing a divorce on these charges.

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Is the Absence of Sexual Relations Grounds for Divorce?

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Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee

From attempted murder to refusal to move to the state, the law in Tennessee allows couples to claim some unique grounds for divorce. While a couple may seek a "no-fault" divorce on the basis of irreconcilable differences, the state also allows divorce for fault, which places the blame on one spouse. The Tennessee law lays out the available grounds for divorce, such as adultery, bigamy or cruelty. Whether the divorce is filed on the grounds of desertion or habitual drunkenness, the court may consider marital misconduct in deciding the final divorce decree.

New York State No Fault Divorce Laws

Every state recognizes no-fault divorce, but that wasn't always the case. Until recently, if you wanted a divorce in New York, you had to prove that your spouse was the cause of the marriage falling apart. In other words, one spouse had to take the blame, even if both spouses wanted the divorce. Typically, this led to a drawn-out divorce process mired in conflict. However, in 2010, New York eliminated this restriction by permitting no-fault divorce, becoming the last state in the union to do so.

Adultery Divorce Laws

In 2010, New York became the last state in the country to adopt no-fault divorce. No matter where you live, you no longer have to prove fault, such as adultery, to get a divorce. In 17 states, you don’t even have a choice: You can file only on no-fault grounds. In these jurisdictions, your spouse may be guilty of infidelity, but the courts don’t care. Most other states, however, consider adultery a ground for divorce.

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