What Are “Grounds” For Divorce?

“Grounds” is the term used to describe the facts and circumstances that permit a court to grant a divorce. Some states have “no fault” grounds, i.e., “irreconcilable differences”, other states have a mixture of “fault” and “no-fault” grounds for divorce. Here are some examples as defined in one state:

  • Mutual and voluntary separation
    A physical separation that is (a) mutual and voluntary on the part of each spouse, (b) was done by each with the intention of ending the marriage, (c) has continued without cohabitation for twelve consecutive months; and (d) has no hope or expectation that the parties will reconcile.
  • Two Year Separation
    Twenty-four consecutive months of separation, regardless of the circumstances, and where there is no hope or expectation that the parties will reconcile.
  • Adultery
    Having voluntary sexual intercourse with a person other than your spouse while you are married.
  • Desertion
    An unjustified ending of cohabitation with an intent to end the marriage.
  • Cruelty and excessively vicious conduct
    Conduct of any kind that a court is willing to characterize as sufficiently egregious that a party ought to be able to terminate their marriage. One example would be domestic violence.
  • Incarceration for 12 consecutive months
  • Insanity
    If a person is incurably insane or has been confined to an institution for the required period of years, that person’s spouse typically has grounds for Divorce in most states.
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