Divorce Laws

Every state has its own laws and requirements for the divorce of a married couple according to the laws passed in that jurisdiction. Even the grounds for a, "fault," or, "no fault," divorce vary from state to state. No fault divorces are available in all jurisdictions but not all state offer fault divorces. About 15 states only offer no fault divorces. In these no fault states, there is no option for a fault divorce even there is considerable misconduct by the offending spouse. Regardless of fault, all jurisdictions in the U.S. permit married couples to get divorced.

In a no fault divorce, the petitioning spouse does not have to prove misconduct by the other spouse. For a couple to get a no fault divorce, only one spouse needs declare the reason found to be acceptable by that particular state for a no fault divorce. In a majority of states, it is sufficient for the petitioning spouse to declare that they do not get along. The only difference from state to state is the terminology used to describe the incompatibility of the couple. These terms can include irreconcilable differences, marriage is irretrievably broken, or irremediable breakdown of the marriage. In a few states, the couple must live separately for a certain amount of time before being granted a no fault divorce. As with other state specific laws, that amount of time can vary from a few months to a couple of years depending on the state.

In a fault divorce, the couple is subject to even more fundamental differences in the laws that govern divorce for each state. Every state has its own requirements for a fault divorce. In some cases, many of the individual state requirements are similar if not the same. For example, every state considers impotence, adultery, conviction of a felony, and cruelty such as the inflicting of unnecessary emotional or physical pain on the other spouse grounds for a fault divorce. Other grounds have varying time margins according to jurisdiction. Some examples of this include desertion or abandonment, failure to consummate the marriage, imprisonment, habitual drunkenness, mental illness, or confinement to a hospital. All of these grounds are subject to the specific laws of each state that dictate how long a spouse must endure the specific condition before being garneted a fault divorce. The time conditions differ by violation and vary widely by state. They may be as short as six months or as long as two years. Other grounds can be more state specific such as fraudulent contract, habitual intemperance, voluntary separation, intolerable indignities, willful neglect, Infection of the other spouse with a sexually transmitted disease, pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, and failure to consummate the marriage.

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