When we refer to ‘grounds for divorce’ we are talking about the reasons for the divorce. For the people involved in the divorce this could be any number of things – cruelty, finance, sex, in-laws, children, lack of children, drugs, alcohol, etc. But from a legal point of view, from the court’s point of view, ‘grounds for divorce’ is the legal reason why the matter should be heard.
In applying for a divorce you must have ‘grounds’ or reasons and in today’s society, there is almost always one reason or ‘grounds’ and that is known as irreconcilable differences. It is all part of what is known as no-fault divorce.
The ‘irreconcilable differences’ could be one or any number of matters and usually the court will not hear such matters. Particularly if the divorce is not contested and the parties have reached agreement about any issues such as sharing of assets, custody of children, etc. There are so many divorces today, the courts prefer to keep things moving so to speak.
Regarding the ‘grounds of divorce’, each state has a set of criteria which must be met. If the applicant produces evidence which meets the criteria then the application will proceed. Know that each state defines legal terms in their own way. For example in California the following definitions for grounds for divorce are
– Irreconcilable differences (determined by court to be substantial reasons for not continuing marriage)
– incurable insanity (proof on competent medical testimony)
Whereas in Utah the grounds for divorce are
– separation for three consecutive years without cohabitation under decree of separate maintenance
– irreconcilable differences of marriage
– impotency at time of marriage
– willful desertion for more than one year
– willful neglect to provide common necessaries of life
– habitual drunkenness
– conviction of felony
– cruelty causing bodily injury or great mental distress
– incurable insanity
Marriage is a legal contract and cannot be broken simply by consent or separation. Many couples go their separate ways without one of them applying for a divorce. In this situation the couple is still legally married and only a divorce or death will end that contract. A separated person, if still married, cannot legally re-marry.
The no-fault divorce which exists today makes applying for a divorce much easier but there still must be a reason or grounds for a divorce. It could be listed as irreconcilable differences and such a reason is accepted by the court.
The possible tricky part is that divorce is a state matter and each state may have a different requirement. Your lawyer will know the relevant regulations within the state in which you are to apply. There may even a residency requirement.
You should also consider the fact that each court has a judge and as each state has its unique laws, each court has its unique judiciary. A judge may believe that marriage has a moral component and will not grant an application on a whim. Applicants should