The reasons for divorce can be many, and varied, but they must boil down into what the court considers to be adequate legal grounds. Basically, you’re obligated to prove the irretrievable breakdown of your marriage, and it must fall into legally defined categories.
Common Grounds for At-Fault Divorces
The legal reasons for divorce can vary by state, but below are some of the most generally accepted grounds to file for at-fault divorce:
- Adultery or cheating
- Mental incapacity at time of marriage
- Marriage between close relatives
- Impotence at time of marriage
- Force or fraud in obtaining the marriage
- Criminal conviction and/or imprisonment
- Mental or physical abuse
- Drug or alcohol addiction
- Mental illness
Again, check your state laws to be sure, but these are the most common grounds for divorce across various states.
You’ll be required to provide proof of misconduct during the court proceedings; so, be prepared. For example, if you’re divorcing on the grounds of adultery, you’ll need more than just a strong suspicion your spouse is sleeping around.
Filing for No-Fault Divorce
All states offer a form of no-fault divorce. However, you still need to file based on legal grounds. In no-fault cases, the grounds are commonly referred to by some of the following terms:
- Irreconcilable differences
- Irretrievable breakdown
This is simply a formal way of saying you and your spouse have serious differences that have broken your marriage beyond your ability to repair it. No one is at fault, but you still want a divorce.
No-fault divorces are quite common and are usually the faster and simpler form of divorce proceedings. Because there is no burden of proof, the trials tend to be quicker and cheaper than their counterparts.
Deciding Between Filing for At-Fault or No-Fault Divorce
Making the right determination depends on a few factors. First, do you have hard proof of misconduct? If you don’t, filing for no-fault is going to be your only option. Similarly, if your budget is constrained, you may not want to endure the long, dragged out process of an at-fault divorce.
However, in states where a spouse’s actions and misdeeds can influence the Court’s division of property and allocation of alimony, it may be worth bringing it up. For example, if your spouse lavished expensive gifts on his/her lover, you may want to ask the court to be reimbursed for the share of monies squandered as part of the final settlement.
Ultimately, you’re the only one who can decide what the right path is going to be for you. While you can certainly consult a lawyer about your options, the final decision will be yours.