Divorce is something that people don’t usually know a lot about until they end up facing one themselves. The laws regarding divorce are different in every state, but they are designed to ensure that the marriage is dissolved for the right reasons and in the right ways. While many people will hire a divorce lawyer to assist them, it doesn’t hurt to also do some research and learn about what to expect during the divorce process, including whether you have grounds for divorce.
What does “grounds for divorce” even mean, though? Here’s what you need to know
At-Fault vs. No-Fault Divorces
Divorce laws and guidelines vary from one state to the next. All states have changed to allow people to file no-fault divorces, which simply means there doesn’t necessarily need to be a designated “reason” given for the divorce. No-fault divorces are growing to become more common and they offer a simpler, quicker option for divorce in many cases. If people can agree that it’s time to get divorced, they can usually agree on things like separation of property and assets, custody arrangements, and other factors of the divorce.
Those who are filing an at-fault divorce will need to have proof of whatever fault they are citing. If there is an accusation of adultery, there needs to be proof of the extramarital relationship—one partner can’t simply say the other is cheating. In the event of desertion, it’s usually required to be proven that all attempts have been made to locate and contact the spouse, to no avail.
If you are trying to get a divorce in an at-fault state, there are some common factors or grounds, that may be considered reasons to approve a divorce. Talk to your attorney to make sure that you know what to expect depending on where you live.
Examples of Grounds for Divorce
As mentioned, the legal reasons for getting a divorce may vary from one state to the next. However, here are a few common examples:
- Adultery (cheating, etc.)
- Mental or physical abuse
- Mental illness
- Marriage between close relatives
- Mental incapacity at the time of the marriage
- Fraud or force in getting the marriage
- Alcohol or drug addiction
If you’re required to provide grounds for divorce, you will usually find them in these examples. If not, you can ask your lawyer if your situation qualifies. If you go the no-fault divorce route, you can file for divorce simply due to “irreconcilable differences” and don’t need a specific reason. This simply tells the courts that you have serious relationship issues that cannot be resolved and the best option is now divorce.
How to Decide Which Way to File
Each divorce case is as unique as the marriage and the two people involved in it. Therefore, it’s going to take a little research to determine exactly how you want to file for divorce. If you live somewhere where you have the choice between at-fault and no-fault divorces, you will want to consider a few things before you decide.
For starters, do you have hard proof, and plenty of it, that some type of misconduct has occurred? If you cannot prove the grounds for divorce, you will not be able to file an at-fault case, let alone stand a chance at winning it. The second thing to consider is whether you want to go through the long, often drawn-out process of a lengthy court case and divorce battle.
Not only does this take time and energy, but it can get quite costly, too. The only real reason to choose at-fault divorce is if the actions of the other spouse warrant being a factor in the division of assets, custody, child support, alimony, etc.
As mentioned, no-fault divorces can often be swift and painless, which is part of what makes them so desirable. And they’re also more affordable when they take less time, so that’s worth considering.
The Next Step
Once you have decided that it’s time to file for divorce, you need to be prepared for all that lies ahead. At this point, you have a better understanding of the grounds for divorce and the benefits of having an attorney at your side. That will help you in more ways than you can anticipate as you move through the phases of the divorce process, including the actual filing of the divorce with the courts.