Examples of Grounds for Divorce

By Elizabeth Rayne

No matter which state you live in, you must have grounds to file for divorce. All states allow for "no-fault" divorce, meaning that neither spouse is held responsible for the marriage ending. Additionally, many states allow couples to request a divorce based on the fault, or marital misconduct, of one spouse. Depending on the state, finding one spouse at fault may affect the terms of the divorce.

State Law Variations

Each state has its own legal requirements a couple must meet in order to file for divorce. Every state in the country now allows for "no-fault" divorce, although New York did not do so until 2010. Many states no longer allow one spouse to blame the other for divorce; as a result, these states only allow no-fault divorce. In addition to legal grounds, most states have residency requirements the couple must meet to file for divorce. Generally, at least one spouse must have lived in the state for the specified amount of time, ranging from 60 days to two years, prior to filing.

No-Fault Divorce

Although no-fault divorce does not place blame on either spouse, most states require the couple to meet certain requirements before they may use no-fault grounds. Generally, in requesting a no-fault divorce, the spouses are alleging they have "irreconcilable differences," or the marriage is "irretrievably broken." Many states require the spouses to live apart for a specified period of time before filing for divorce. The waiting period may range from 60 days to a year, depending on the laws of the state.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Fault Grounds

Many states still recognize a variety of fault grounds for divorce. Generally, in order to file for divorce based on the fault of the other spouse, you may not be at fault yourself and you must prove that the fault was the cause of the dissolution of the marriage. The specific grounds for divorce will vary by state, but generally they include adultery, cruelty, desertion or insanity. Other grounds may include imprisonment of the other spouse, bigamy, impotency, or habitual drug or alcohol use.

Effect of Fault

Depending on the laws of the state, proving that one spouse is at fault in causing the divorce may lead to a more favorable divorce settlement for the other spouse. Marital misconduct may affect property distribution, alimony, child custody or child support. However, some states do not allow marital fault to be considered in determining the terms of the divorce. Additionally, marital fault may be just one factor the court considers, in addition to the finances of each spouse and the best interests of any children of the relationship.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Desertion Penalty in a Maryland Divorce
 

References

Related articles

Grounds for Divorce in Fayetteville, North Carolina

Divorce in North Carolina is governed by state law. Whether you are in Fayetteville, Durham or Ashville, the grounds for divorce are the same. North Carolina is a no-fault state; therefore, you don't need to prove your spouse caused the end of your marriage. Separation for one year and incurable insanity are the only grounds for divorce in North Carolina. A handful of grounds exist for obtaining a legal separation in North Carolina, however, they are rarely used.

Causes of Divorce: Habitual Drunkenness

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.

How to Get a No Fault Divorce in Arkansas

In Arkansas, you do not need to place blame on either spouse in order to seek a divorce. Instead, the courts will dissolve the marriage so long as the couple has lived separately for at least 18 months. Generally, it is easier to obtain a divorce when you are not trying to assign guilt. Additionally, the process may be less complicated and quicker if the couple can agree to the terms of the divorce, instead of arguing before the court.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

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 ...

How to Legally Separate in Tennessee

Tennessee recognizes legal separation which authorizes married couples to live apart. A legal separation is essentially ...

Illinois Divorce on the Grounds of Abandonment

Although Illinois law no longer punishes spouses for abandonment, the state does allow divorce on the grounds of ...

Definition of a Legal Separation in Iowa

Couples sometimes opt for legal separation rather than divorce because of religious beliefs held by one or both ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED