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Grounds for Divorce in the United States

Grounds for Divorce

No one enters into a marriage expecting it to end in divorce, but sometimes it is the best option for all involved. In the United States, there are a number of grounds for divorce recognized by law. This post will explore some of the most common ones. Keep in mind that every state has its own laws governing divorce, so be sure to check with an attorney if you have specific questions about grounds for divorce.

Can I get a divorce without a reason?

Yes, you can get a divorce without a reason in most states. The grounds for divorce will vary from state to state, but usually include things like adultery, abandonment, or cruelty. You may also be able to get a no-fault divorce if you and your spouse have been living separate and apart for a certain period of time.

If you’re thinking about getting a divorce, it’s important to speak with an attorney who can advise you on the specific grounds for divorce in your state. You may also want to consider mediation or collaborative law to settle your case amicably without going to court.

What Are the Most Common Grounds for Divorce?

A fault divorce is one that is granted after the party seeking it sufficiently demonstrates that the other person has done something harmful to justify ending their marriage. Divorce courts demand evidence that the reasons for the divorce are genuine. This can be done by using the services of a hired detective, along with evidence of the spouse’s bad conduct or firsthand knowledge of it. Today, because every state now allows for no-fault divorces, fault divorces are becoming less frequent. They are not as expensive or time consuming, and they are therefore less distressing for family members.

There are many reasons why couples might decide to divorce, but some of the most common grounds for divorce include adultery, abuse, and abandonment.

grounds for divorce


Adultery is defined as sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than their spouse. It is one of the most common grounds for divorce. Adultery is a criminal offense in some states, while others treat it as a civil matter. In most cases, adultery is only prosecuted if it causes harm to the marriage, such as through divorce proceedings or child custody disputes.


The evidence of cruelty or the recurrence of serious physical or mental suffering inflicted by one spouse on the other may also result in a divorce. It must have been premeditated and deliberate, and the filing spouse’s actions may not have been provoked by the victim. Cruelty includes acts that are physically harmful, such as beating or kicking someone, or repeatedly making angry displays of rage with screaming and violent behavior. Publicly shaming and insulting a spouse or flaunting an affair with another person are also examples of cruelty. The cruelty must have occurred on a regular basis. In most cases, single instances of cruelty in a marriage are not considered grounds for divorce.

Abandonment or Desertion

Leaving the family with the consent of the filing spouse or for reasons consistent with the continued existence of a constructive relationship, such as completing military service or employment obligations as required by law, does not constitute abandonment or desertion. In certain situations, it might be interpreted as neglect to refuse sexual relations with a spouse. 

The defendant spouse must have left the marital home with no cause or intention of returning, and it must be shown that he or she did so willingly. The deserter must have departed without the filing party’s consent and remained away for a continuous length of time. However, if one spouse is unjustly removed from the marital home by the other or leaves to avoid domestic violence, he or she will not be charged with abandonment or desertion. 

Mental Illnesses

A ground for divorce is permanent mental illness or incurability of sanity. The filing spouse must provide evidence that the other spouse has a permanent psychological condition that makes marriage impossible due to mental illness in order to obtain a divorce on grounds of mental illness. The spouse must be incurable, and the condition must have been diagnosed by psychiatrists experienced in psychiatry.

Criminal Conviction

A spouse’s criminal conviction and imprisonment are frequently taken as reasons for divorce. To obtain a divorce on the basis of a criminal conviction, the filing spouse must establish that their partner has committed an illegal act. In many instances, a divorce on the grounds of criminal conviction is only granted if the convicted spouse has been sentenced to serve time in prison.

Other Grounds

Other grounds for divorce include alcohol or substance abuse and impotency, infertility, and homosexuality (for heterosexual married couples) on the part of the other person that was not previously addressed. Many macro-level contexts also serve as reasons for a couple to divorce. The social world is made up of many different components, including technology and social integration, to the economy and military service. The breakdown of a marriage might be due to cultural habits or religious buildings, according on some circumstances.

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