Despite the fact that the divorce rate in the U.S. is steadily declining, approximately 40-50% of marriages still end in divorce, nationwide.
As demographics, economics, and attitudes towards marriage have changed, this has lead to a decline in the number of marriages taking place across the U.S. too.
But why do people choose to get divorced and what are you legally allowed to cite as grounds for the end of your marriage? Learn more about legal grounds for divorce in this blog.
Divorce Rulings From State-to-State
Before you dive into divorce proceedings, it’s important to know that different states across the U.S. have different legal conditions regarding grounds for divorce.
It’s also important to understand what qualifies as a legal reason for your divorce before you decide to end your marriage. This reason may not qualify in your particular state.
You should have complete clarity with regard to the acceptable reasons for your divorce in your state. Otherwise, you may be required to undergo a legal separation beforehand or attend couple’s therapy in a bid to save your marriage.
What If There Is No Real Reason For Divorce?
This then qualifies as no-fault grounds for divorce. It today’s day and age, this divorce route is becoming far more common, rather than citing any legal reason for getting divorced.
No-fault divorces are also far less expensive and time-consuming to process and are far less emotionally taxing, too. Basically, you are not required to prove that your spouse has done anything wrong in a no-fault divorce. It’s simply an absolution of marriage because the union no longer works for both parties.
However, in some states, such as Texas, you are still required to prove to the court why your marriage is not working i.e. why a divorce should be granted. If you’re looking for a divorce lawyer in Texas, check out Vendt Law Firm.
Grounds For Divorce: Your Legally Acceptable Options
In contrast to no-fault divorce cases, there are a number of legally acceptable reasons to file for divorce. In this case, you must prove your spouse is at fault and you want to escape a marriage. Some of the most common legal grounds for divorce include the following.
1. Abandonment (Desertion)
This legal example involves the desertion of a spouse by leaving a marital home for an extended period of time. This ground for divorce also extends to emotional desertion where a spouse displays cruel behavior, persuading their partner to leave the marital home.
2. Physical and Emotional Abuse
Domestic violence is one of the most commonly cited grounds for divorce and extends to physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. Behavior that is threatening and hostile is also included in this legal category.
Adultery is yet another common legal reason for filing for divorce. This act is characterized by extramarital relations with a person outside of marriage, during the period of marriage. If adultery does not affect the division of property between spouses, it will affect child custody.
Also included in this legal charge is the misuse of marital assets during the period of infidelity. This includes gift or property purchases or taking the third-party on vacation.
4. Sexual Misconduct
Sexual misconduct is characterized by using sex as a weapon during a marriage. In short, this relates to unwanted sexual behavior including:
- Forced sex
- Sexual coercion
- Pedophilia behavior
This ground for divorce will likely have a major impact on child custody proceedings.
5. Addiction or Alcoholism
This is another common citation for grounds for divorce. Alcoholic/addictive behavior largely impacts child custody and the division of assets. The spouse’s addictive behavior will also be assessed for how it has impacted your financial well-being.
If a spouse has displayed threatening, intimidating, and irresponsible behavior due to an addiction, this has a major impact on child custody and visitation rights.
6. Carnal Abandonment
Also known as sexual withholding, carnal abandonment includes refusing to have sex with a spouse for an extended period of time.
This is usually cited as a fault, particularly if the average amount of sex in a marriage is considered well below average. In essence, some courts view carnal abandonment as a form of domestic abuse.
7. Impotence (Erectile Dysfunction)
This is not always considered a legally common ground for divorce across all states. The evidence required also plays a large role in proving this legal ground.
In other words, your own testimony of impotence in a spouse is not enough. You generally need to provide medical records or an expert to testify on your behalf.
Some states are not likely to grant a divorce based on this ground unless the situation is proven to be permanent. To add to this, the spouse’s inability to perform intercourse must have been common knowledge at the outset of marriage.
Infertility is a growing issue among many couples in today’s day and age. So, in some states, this ground for divorce is still considered questionable.
However, if it’s discovered that a spouse has undisclosed infertility issues, this usually allows for the annulment of a marriage.
9. Mental Illness
This is a complex ground for divorce and is largely dependent on the severity of mental illness and how much it affects a marriage.
In order to grant grounds for divorce, each spouse and their individual case is carefully examined for evidence.
10. Sexual Orientation
If a spouse knows that their sexual orientation is simply incompatible with their partner’s, then this can be considered grounds for divorce.
The same conditions apply as with cases of infertility. However, cases of sexual orientation are often a little more sensitive and conditional.
Regardless, if a spouse failed to disclose their sexuality or inclination toward a sexual preference at the outset of a marriage, this would qualify as grounds for divorce.
Find the Right Lawyer Just a Click Away
Now that you know a little more about how you’re legally entitled to file for divorce, find the right lawyer for your needs on this website.
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