What are the Best Grounds for Divorce?

What are the Best Grounds for Divorce?

The best grounds for divorce depend upon the divorce laws your state follows and the type of divorce petition you file.

If you choose to file a no-fault divorce petition, you can cite any one of the following issues as a reason for divorce:

  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Incompatibility
  • Irretrievable breakdown of marriage

If you choose to file an at-fault divorce petition, one or more of the following serious marital wrongdoings actually committed by the other spouse make for a strong ground for divorce:

  • Bigamy
  • Infidelity
  • Fraudulently/forcefully getting married
  • Abandoning the spouse without reason
  • Abuse (mental or physical)
  • Addiction to substances
  • Impotence
  • Incurable mental illness
  • Other reasons specified by your state

5 Factors to Consider Before Citing Grounds in a No-Fault or At-Fault Divorce Petition

  1. As of June 2022, just 19 U.S. states are truly no-fault divorce states. In these states, the courts either prohibit or severely restrict your ability to file an at-fault divorce. If the other spouse has committed a serious marital wrongdoing, you may sue him/her for compensation in a separate case, but you cannot use the wrongdoing as a ground for divorce. However, if the marital misconduct has impacted the children, the courts will take it into account while deciding on child custody and either restrict his/her visiting time or deny visiting rights.
  2. The remaining states follow the at-fault divorce rule but they allow spouses to file a no-fault divorce petition. Therefore, you may choose to file an at-fault or no-fault divorce petition in an at-fault divorce state. Most spouses opt for no-fault divorce though. However, when the marital wrongdoing is very serious, some spouses may opt to file an at-fault divorce application so that they can get sole child custody or a bigger share of alimony and marital property, or both.
  3. In a no-fault divorce, it is sufficient to say that the marriage is not working because the spouses are incompatible, or have irreconcilable differences, or that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. The petitioning spouse does not have to allege marital wrongdoing or provide proof of it. The spouse who is served the notice cannot object to the divorce itself, because if he/she does then the objection will be considered an “irreconcilable difference” by the courts. However, as mentioned earlier, in some cases, where the evidence is compelling, the petitioning spouse can sue the other spouse for compensation separately.
  4. In some states that allow no-fault divorce, the spouses are required to live separately for a specified period before filing the divorce petition. Most states do not have this requirement, however.
  5. An at-fault divorce takes longer and is more expensive to resolve than a no-fault divorce, which is quicker, easier, and more affordable. This is because the at-fault divorce petitioner and his family law attorney have to conclusively prove marital wrongdoing (bigamy, infidelity, abandonment, fraud, abuse, addiction, etc.) committed by the other spouse, and proving it involves hiring investigators, expert witnesses, and takes legal time for reading and analyzing the evidence, and more.
Published On: June 10th, 2022Categories: At-Fault DivorceComments Off on What are the Best Grounds for Divorce?
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About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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