Grounds for Divorce/Dissolution

Grounds for Divorce/Dissolution in the U.S. Copyright

Legal Grounds for Divorce/Dissolution

Grounds for divorce/dissolution are legal reasons for termination of a marriage.

No-fault Divorce

A no-fault divorce is one in which neither person blames the other for the breakdown of the marriage. There is no requirement to prove guilt of either party. Common no-fault grounds are irreconcilable differences, irretrievable marriage breakdown, irremediable breakdown of the marriage, or incompatibility of temperament.

These terms indicate that the marriage is over, but no blame is assigned to either spouse. All states have some form of no-fault divorce. But in many states, the couple must live apart for a certain timeframe to obtain one.

Fault-based Divorce

In a fault-based divorce, misconduct by one of the spouses is alleged as the legal basis for divorce/dissolution. Most states still allow couples to obtain a fault-based divorce. Many of the grounds are the same from state to state, such as adultery, some type of cruelty, physical or mental incapacitation, abandonment, and imprisonment.

In a fault-based divorce, the courts require proof of the alleged grounds. If the misconduct cannot be proven or the accused spouse fights or raises a defense to the claim, the divorce can still ultimately be granted on no-fault grounds, since all states offer this option.

Fault-based divorces can often be obtained more quickly than no-fault divorces. And some states take a spouse’s misconduct into account when making decisions about property division and the award of spousal support.

Comparative Rectitude or Least-fault Divorce

When both spouses allege legal fault-based grounds in a divorce action, under a doctrine called comparative rectitude, a court may award the divorce to the spouse whose fault is less serious. These types of divorces are rarely granted, however, since no-fault divorce is far more common.

Grounds for Divorce/Dissolution by State

Grounds for Divorce/Dissolution may vary from state to state. The following links provide general overviews of individual states' divorce grounds.

Individual State Grounds for Divorce/Dissolution

Divorce Articles

  • Pennsylvania Divorce Proceedings with Visitation Rights
    When one spouse divorces the other in Pennsylvania, it is important to know what visitation rights are available to the parent without primary or full custody of affected children. Often the father is the one seeking visitation to see his kids and knowing what his rights in these matters and may provide him with the means to engage in parental activities.
  • Survivor Benefit Plan Award and Military Divorce
    When the military member faces divorce from his or her spouse, the usual process involves survivor benefits, retirement benefits or additional monies through accounts or other programs to the nonmilitary spouse. It is important for the military member to understand these situations, so he or she is not caught unaware.
  • Texas Child Support Modification and Enforcement: Answers to FAQs
    In Texas, there are strict limits on when parents can petition for a modification of child support. There are also strict penalties for violating child support orders. Learn what you need to know if you cannot meet your child support obligations or if your former spouse is refusing to pay.
  • What Does the OPM Have to Do with My Divorce?
    Retirement from government work may lead to complications with the division of assets when a federal employee divorces his or her spouse. It is vital for the worker to know how his or her retirement benefits and accounts could face such deductions from a former spouse after reaching and progressing through retirement.
  • Will My Ex Have Rights to My Government Benefits?
    When a military veteran enters retirement, his or her retirement accounts and benefits may face divisions for any ex-spouses attached to the situation. It is important to understand how this affects the former military service member and how much he or she will need to give to the other person as marital property.
  • USFSPA: Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act
    The intention of Congress in 1982 in creating the USFSPA was to ensure that former spouses of military members receive financial protection after the marriage is over. This Act could protect the former spouse through divisions in military retirement pay in becoming marital property when the couple dissolve the relationship.
  • Disabled Military Retirees May Pay Less to Ex-Spouses - U.S. Supreme Court Rules
    Changes in regulations for various types of pay and compensation reduce or increase often based on the rulings that occur through district and supreme courts. In the newest ruling, the amounts that military retired service members pay to spouses that divorced prior to or during retirement may decrease to support the veteran more and the ex-spouse less.
  • Problems Involved with Hiding Assets during a Pennsylvania Divorce
    During divorce, spouses may try to protect their assets from division by hiding them from the other spouse. This may be easier if the spouse has handled the couple’s finances for most of the marriage and the other spouse is unaware of the true extent of the marital estate. However, hiding assets during the divorce process can lead to significant consequences to all parties involved.
  • New Tax Laws' Impact on Virginia Divorce and Spousal Support
    Spousal support helps provide monetary assistance to a spouse who has less earning capacity or income than his or her spouse. State laws determine when to award spousal support and in what amount. However, other factors may influence whether spousal support is requested or agreed to by the parties, such as tax treatment. New tax laws may impact Virginia divorces and spousal support orders.
  • Military Pension Division in New York Divorce Cases
    One of the major issues involved in a divorce case is the division of the couple’s assets and debts. For many couples, a major asset is their retirement fund or pension. In some cases, these assets are subject to division in a divorce case. While this process is complicated enough on its own, there are additional complications when the couple involves a service member.

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