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5 Common Reasons Married Couples File For Divorce

Posted by rafael on January 30, 2013 in Relationships

In the U.S., divorce has traditionally been granted only when one or both spouses could demonstrate that their marriage was unsustainable. There were several grounds for divorce with the most common reason being adultery. One or both parties were said to be at fault for the marriage’s failure, at which point the couple’s divorce was granted and finalized.

Today, all 50 states recognize the concept of a no-fault divorce. This is the dissolution of a marriage for which neither party needs to be blamed for misconduct. The court grants the divorce without requiring evidence that the marriage contract has been violated.
No-fault divorce is the most common approach taken by separating couples. However, some states take fault into account when considering matters related to spousal support and the division of assets. With that in mind, we’ll take a closer look at several grounds for divorce that can play a role in these decisions.

#1 – Adultery

Adultery is one of the most common reasons couples seek divorce. It is generally defined as engaging in sexual intercourse with someone other than a person’s spouse. Having said that, each state maintains its own laws and definition of what constitutes adultery. For example, New York defines it as sexual intercourse with someone outside the marriage. North Carolina, however, does not specifically point to intercourse. There, adultery is defined as sexual activity between two people not married to each other.
Adultery can have a bearing on certain aspects of the divorce settlement. For this reason, any allegation of such must be accompanied by compelling evidence.



#2 – Cruelty

Cruel treatment can take many forms and encompass both physical and emotional treatment of one spouse by another. Direct physical abuse is a common refrain in divorce cases citing cruelty as the reason a marriage has failed. Physically cruel treatment can also include an ongoing failure to meet the physical needs of one spouse.

Even when physical contact – or lack thereof in the case of a failure to meet one party’s needs – has not occurred, cruelty can still be used as a reason for divorce. For example, the at-fault spouse might scream regularly at his or her partner, use profanity, or otherwise verbally abuse the other person. Having said that, without evidence of physical abuse, claims of misconduct are often difficult to prove.

#3 – Desertion

The term “desertion” is often used interchangeably with the term “abandonment.” Both refer to the same circumstance: one spouse abandons the other for a lengthy period of time. The amount of time that must pass before a divorce can be granted to the person who has been abandoned varies by state. Many states have established a 1-year rule while others require at least three years to pass.
As a rule, the period of abandonment must be continuous. In addition, the spouse claiming to have been abandoned must provide evidence that the other spouse left him or her without first obtaining consent.

#4 – Incompatibility

Incompatibility is sometimes mistaken for irreconcilable differences, an entirely different circumstance. With incompatibility, the spouses have conflicts that have made it impossible to remain married to one another. Such conflicts may be due to personality differences, continuous arguing, lack of trust, or many other factors.

It is not always necessary that both spouses agree on the nature of their incompatibility. Only one spouse needs to cite this reason as the failure of the marriage for the court to grant a divorce.

#5 – Irreconcilable Differences

Irreconcilable differences is the typical reason given for a no-fault divorce. It is used when neither spouse wishes to assign official blame for the breakdown of the marriage. It indicates that differences between the parties are unlikely to ever be resolved. Those differences have made the marriage impossible to sustain. Dissolution of the marriage is thus the only viable option.

Irreconcilable differences is an option that allows the spouses to obtain a mutually agreed-upon divorce without proving misconduct on either party’s end. It can only be used as a basis for divorce when both spouses agree on it.

There are other grounds for divorce, such as imprisonment and drunkenness, but they tend to be less common than the five presented above. If you have questions regarding which route you should pursue in obtaining a divorce, consult an experienced divorce attorney.

Having wirtten on many wide variety of topics, and blogging for years, the author is currently writing about relationship and legal issues for the www.ephraimlaw.com practice. There are many other interesting topics on this blog, check them out.

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