What are the Most Common Grounds for Divorce?

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  • Written By: R. Kimball
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 27 March 2020
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The most common grounds for divorce vary by jurisdiction. Many countries and states within certain countries have no fault divorces. These no fault divorces, which may also be called irreconcilable differences or irretrievably deteriorated, are the most common grounds for divorce.

The no fault divorce cases vary by jurisdiction as to how they may be acquired. In some jurisdictions, there is a waiting period that must be completed prior to using no fault as the grounds for divorce. The waiting period may be as short as six months or as long as several years for a no fault divorce.

In other jurisdictions, the no fault grounds for divorce are based upon an irretrievably deteriorated marriage. To prove that the marriage has broken down to the point that it should be dissolved, the party must show that it is his or her intention not to continue in the marriage and that his or her behavior matches this intention. Thus the parties cannot continue to live in the same household and behave as husband and wife if they wish to use this basis as the grounds for divorce.


In cases in which the parties cannot claim or choose not to claim no fault as the grounds for divorce, they must show one or the other party was at fault. The most common fault grounds for divorce include abuse, adultery, abandonment, imprisonment and unreasonable behavior. The definition and requirements for each of these reasons for divorce varies by jurisdiction. The more egregious the behavior, the greater the action might be considered as a fault in the divorce proceeding.

There are defenses for each of the fault-based grounds for divorce; the respondent in the divorce proceeding, however, may choose not to use a defense against the divorce action. Defenses to fault-based grounds for divorce are used more frequently when there is a larger marital estate or the opportunity for alimony. Once one of the parties claims the other is at fault during the divorce proceedings, the other party must decide how to respond.

Each of the fault grounds for divorce requires a different response. When one spouse files for divorce on the grounds of abuse or unreasonable behavior, for instance, the respondent’s answer might make a difference in how the court decides the case. When a spouse files for divorce based upon abandonment or imprisonment, the answer is less important, as these items are factual in nature.


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Post 2

My first wife and I got a "no fault" divorce, and I'm glad we lived in a state that allowed that sort of thing. Both of us had legal grounds for divorce, but neither one of us wanted to air those reasons in a courtroom in front of a judge. We just felt like our marriage was irretrievably broken, and marital counseling wasn't going to work in the long run. We were simply happier people when we weren't in the same room together.

I suspected my wife had committed adultery, and I'm sure she felt the same way about me. We both had close friends of the opposite sex, and it wasn't unusual for either one of us to

seek out a friendly face after a big fight. But I don't know if a divorce attorney could have really proven anything other than an emotional form of adultery. I didn't actually have sexual relations with any of my female friends, but I did spend a lot of time on the phone talking to them when I should have been working on our marriage face-to-face.
Post 1

My parents came close to getting a divorce several times, but my mother really couldn't afford the legal fees and my dad didn't want to "waste" his money on an official divorce decree. He thought he could just live somewhere else and send the rest of the family a check every month. But without any legally binding support order, he could conveniently forget to send that check from time to time.

I'm sure my mother had plenty of legal grounds for divorce, including abandonment and adultery, but she also had health issues that prevented her from working a full-time job. Personally, I was much happier when my dad wasn't living at the house, because he was such a mean person to everyone when he did live with us.

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