LEGAL GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE IN THE U.S.

Grounds For Divorce and Distribution of Marital Property

Although rarely prosecuted, adultery is considered a crime in some states. Proof of adultery is a ground for divorce and may be used as a reason to reduce the offending spouse's marital property award in a property division.

Adultery: when a married person engage in voluntary sexual intercourse with someone other than his or her spouse.

Divorce statutes change constantly. Consult a licensed attorney in your state for assistance.


GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE BY STATE

ALABAMA Grounds: Adultery, Drug addiction, Felony imprisonment for 2 years for a seven-year sentence, Infamous crime, Insanity, Irretrievable breakdown, Lack of capacity to consent to marriage, Separation of 2 years (1 year in favor of wife), Unnatural or abnormal sex with person of same or opposite sex or with a beast

Property distribution: Equitable

ALASKA Grounds: Adultery, Cruel and inhuman treatment, Drug addiction, Failure to consummate the marriage, Conviction of a felony, Willful desertion for a period of one year, Habitual gross drunkenness, Incurable mental illness.

Property distribution: Equitable

ARIZONA Grounds: Adultery, Imprisonment, Abandonment, Drug or Alcohol Abuse, Sexual or Physical Abuse, The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for at least 2 years before, The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously without reconciliation for at least 1 year from the date the decree of legal separation was entered, The husband and wife both agree the marriage should end.

Property distribution: Community Property

ARKANSAS Grounds: Adultery, Impotence, Habitual drunkenness for one (1) year, Cruel and barbarous treatment, Incarceration, Offer such indignities to the other person as shall render his or her condition intolerable.

Property distribution: Equitable

CALIFORNIA Grounds For Divorce: Irreconcilable difference, Incurable insanity, Irretrievable breakdown

Property distribution: Community Property

COLORADO Grounds: Irretrievable breakdown

Property distribution: Equitable

CONNECTICUT Grounds: Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, The parties have lived apart by reason of incompatibility for a continuous period of at least the eighteen months, Adultery, Fraudulent contract, Intolerable cruelty, Imprisonment, Willful desertion for one year, 7 years’ absence, during all of which period the absent party has not been heard from, Habitual intemperance, 5 years confinement for mental illness

Property distribution: Equitable

DELAWARE Grounds: Irretrievable breakdown: Voluntary separation by the parties, or Separation caused by respondent’s misconduct, or Separation caused by respondent’s mental illness, or Separation caused by incompatibility between the parties.

Property distribution: Equitable

FLORIDA Grounds For Divorce: Irretrievable breakdown, Mental incompetence

Property distribution: Equitable

GEORGIA Grounds for Divorce: Irretrievable breakdown, Intermarriage by persons within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity or affinity; Mental incapacity; Adultery; Impotency; Duress, or fraud in obtaining the marriage; Pregnancy of the wife by a man other than the husband, at the time of the marriage, unknown to the husband; Willful and continued desertion for one year; Imprisonment for a term of two years or longer; Habitual intoxication; Cruel treatment; Incurable mental illness. Habitual drug addiction.

Property distribution: Equitable

HAWAII Grounds: Irretrievable breakdown, The parties have lived separate and apart under a decree of separation from bed and board entered by any court of competent jurisdiction; The parties have lived separate and apart for a period of 2 years or more under a decree of separate maintenance entered by any court of competent jurisdiction; or The parties have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of 2 years or more immediately preceding the application, there is no reasonable likelihood that cohabitation will be resumed.

Property distribution: Equitable

IDAHO Grounds: Irreconcilable differences, Irretrievable breakdown. When married persons live separate and apart for a period of 5 or more years, Adultery, Incompatibility, Extreme cruelty, Willful desertion. Permanent insanity, Willful neglect, Habitual intemperance, Conviction of felony, When either the husband or wife has become permanently insane.

Property distribution: Community Property

ILLINOIS Grounds For Divorce: That the spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period in excess of 2 years and irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Bigamy, Adultery, Impotence, the respondent had a wife or husband living at the time of the marriage, Willfully desertion, Habitual drunkenness for the time of two years, Drug Addiction for the time of two years, Extreme and repeated physical or mental cruelty, Convicted of a felony or other infamous crime, Spouse infected with a sexually transmitted disease

Property distribution: Equitable

INDIANA Grounds: Irretrievable breakdown. The felony conviction of either of the parties, Impotence, Incurable insanity for at least two years.

Property distribution: Equitable

IOWA Grounds: Irretrievable breakdown.

Property distribution: Equitable

KANSAS Grounds: Incompatibility. Adultery, Cruelty, Failure to perform a material marital duty or obligation; or Mental illness or mental incapacity such as: Confinement of the spouse in an institution a period of two years; or An adjudication of mental illness or mental incapacity of the spouse by a court of competent jurisdiction while the spouse is confined in an institution by reason of mental illness.

Property distribution: Equitable

KENTUCKY Grounds: Irretrievable breakdown.

Property distribution: Equitable

LOUISIANA Grounds: The spouses have lived separate and apart continuously for at least 180 days prior to the filing for the divorce. Adultery, Physical or sexual abuse, Abandonment for a period of one year, Conviction of a felony and death sentence or imprisonment with hard labor, Imprisonment, The spouses have been living separate and apart continuously for a period of 2 years, Living separate and apart continuously for a period of one year from the date the judgment of separation from bed and board was signed.

Property distribution: Equitable

MAINE Grounds: Irreconcilable marital differences. Adultery, Impotence, Extreme cruelty, Desertion for 3 consecutive years prior, Abuse of liquor or drugs, Cruelty or Neglect, Cruel and abusive treatment, Mental illness for at least 7 consecutive years

Property distribution: Equitable

MARYLAND Grounds: Adultery; Impotency, Desertion for one year, Voluntarily living separate and apart without cohabitation for 12 months, Conviction of a felony or imprisonment, Two-year separation, Insanity, Cruel and abusive treatment

Property distribution: Equitable (court cannot distribute property but may make a monetary award in lieu thereof)

MASSACHUSETTS Grounds for Divorce: Adultery, Impotency, Gross and confirmed habits of intoxication caused by voluntary, Complete desertion continued for one year next prior to the filing of the complaint, Excessive use of intoxicating liquor, opium, or other drugs. Cruel and abusive treatment, Gross, wanton and cruel refusal or neglect to provide suitable support, despite sufficient financial ability to do so. Irretrievable breakdown.

Property distribution: Equitable

MICHIGAN Grounds For Divorce: Irretrievable breakdown.

Property distribution: Equitable

MINNESOTA Grounds: Irretrievable breakdown. An irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship is achieved by living separate and apart for at least 180 days or serious marital discord adversely affecting the attitude of the husband, wife, or both towards the marriage.

Property distribution: Equitable

MISSISSIPPI Grounds: Irreconcilable differences. Natural impotency. Adultery, unless it can be shown that one of the parties colluded to get a divorce based upon adultery or that after the injured party found out about the adultery, they continued to live together as husband and wife. Being sentenced to any penitentiary, and not pardoned before being sent there. Willful, continued and obstinate desertion for at least one year. Habitual drunkenness. Habitual use of drugs. Habitual cruel and inhuman treatment. Insanity or idiocy at the time of marriage, if the party was unaware. Marriage to some other person at the time of the pretended marriage between the parties. Pregnancy of the wife by another person at the time of the marriage, if the husband did not know of such pregnancy. Incest. Incurable insanity.

Property distribution: Title State

MISSOURI Grounds: Separation for 2 years or 1 year if without consent. Irretrievable breakdown.

Property distribution: Equitable

MONTANA Grounds: Irretrievable breakdown. Living separate and apart for a period of more than 180 days; or Serious marital discord that adversely affects the attitude of one or both of the parties towards the marriage.

Property distribution: Equitable

NEBRASKA Grounds: Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Mentally ill and lacks the ability to consent to a dissolution of marriage. Drug and alcohol abuse.

Property distribution: Equitable

NEVADA Grounds: Living separate and apart for 1 year without cohabitation. Incompatibility. Insanity existing for 2 years.

Property distribution: Community Property

NEW HAMPSHIRE Grounds: Irreconcilable differences which have caused the irremediable breakdown of the marriage. Desertion or separation for to 2 years. Imprisonment for more than one year. Impotence. Adultery. Extreme cruelty. When either party has so treated the other as seriously to injure health or endanger reason. Habitual drinking and has been such for 2 years together.

Property distribution: Equitable

NEW JERSEY Grounds: Irretrievable breakdown. Adultery, Willful and continued desertion for the term of 1 year, Extreme cruelty, Separation or absence for a period of at least 18 or more consecutive months, Drug addiction or habituation to any narcotic drug for at least 1 year, Institutionalization for mental illness for a period of 2 years, Imprisonment of the defendant for 18 months, Deviant sexual conduct.

Property distribution: Equitable

NEW MEXICO Grounds: . Incompatibility. Irretrievable breakdown. Cruel and inhuman treatment, Adultery, Abandonment.

Property distribution: Community Property

NEW YORK Grounds For Divorce: Adultery, Cruel and inhuman treatment, The abandonment for a period of one or more years. The confinement in prison for a period of three or more consecutive years of the espouse after the marriage.

Property distribution: Equitable

NORTH CAROLINA Grounds: Husband and wife have lived separate and apart for 1 year. Abandonment. Maliciously turns the other out of doors. Cruel or barbarous treatment. Offers such indignities to the person of the other as to render his or her condition intolerable and life burdensome. Excessive use of alcohol or drugs. Adultery.

Property distribution: Equitable Distribution (equal distribution required unless court finds this to be inequitable)

NORTH DAKOTA Grounds: Irreconcilable differences. Adultery. Extreme cruelty. Willful desertion. Willful neglect. Abuse of alcohol or controlled substances. Conviction of felony.

Property distribution: Equitable

OHIO Grounds For Divorce: Lived separate and apart without cohabitation for 1 year; Incompatibility

Either party had a husband or wife living at the time of the marriage from which the divorce is sought; Willful abandonment for 1 year; Adultery; Impotency, Extreme cruelty; Fraudulent contract; Any gross neglect of duty; Habitual drunkenness or drug abuse; Four-year confinement in a mental institution; Imprisonment.

Property distribution: Equitable

OKLAHOMA Grounds: Incompatibility. Abandonment for 1 year. Adultery. Impotency. When the wife at the time of her marriage, was pregnant by another than her husband. Extreme cruelty. Fraud, force or duress. Habitual drunkenness. Gross neglect of duty. Imprisonment. Insanity for a period of 5 years.

Property distribution: Equitable

OREGON Grounds: No-Fault: Irreconcilable differences, irretrievable breakdown.

Fault: (a) When either party to the marriage was incapable of making such contract or consenting thereto for want of legal age or sufficient understanding; (b) When the consent of either party was obtained by force or fraud.

Property distribution: Equitable

PENNSYLVANIA Grounds For Divorce: Mutual consent. Marriage is irretrievably broken and 90 days have elapsed from the date of commencement of an action; or Living separate and apart for a period of at least two years and that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Adultery. Willful and malicious desertion for the period of 1 or more years. Cruel and barbarous treatment. Bigamy. Imprisonment for a term of 2 or more years. Personal indignities rendering condition intolerable and life burdensome. Insanity or serious mental disorder with at least three-year confinement.

Property distribution: Equitable

PUERTO RICO Grounds: Adultery, Sentenced to prison for the conviction of a felony,

Regular and excessive drug and alcohol use, Cruel treatment, Abandonment of the other spouse for more than a year, Impotence, The husband's proposal to prostitute his wife; The attempt of a spouse to corrupt or prostitute the children; Separation of the spouses for an uninterrupted period of time of over 2 years; and Incurable insanity of one of the spouses for more than seven years that began after marriage.

RHODE ISLAND Grounds: Irreconcilable differences which have caused the breakdown of the marriage. Living separate and apart without cohabitation for 3 years. Impotency; Adultery; Extreme cruelty; Willful desertion for five years; Continued drunkenness; The habitual, excessive, and intemperate use of opium, morphine, or chloral; Neglect and refusal; and Any other gross misbehavior and wickedness.

Property distribution: Equitable

SOUTH CAROLINA Grounds: Separation or absence for a period of one year. Adultery; Willful desertion for a period of one year; Physical cruelty; Habitual drunkenness or drug abuse.

Property distribution: Equitable

SOUTH DAKOTA Grounds: Irreconcilable differences. Adultery; Extreme cruelty - the infliction of grievous bodily injury or grievous mental suffering upon the other, by one party to the marriage. Willful desertion - the voluntary separation of one of the married parties from the other with intent to desert. Willful neglect; Habitual intemperance; Felony conviction or imprisonment.

Property distribution: Equitable

TENNESSEE Grounds: Irreconcilable differences; or (2) living separate and apart without cohabitation for 2 years when there are no minor children. Bigamy, Drug addiction, Felony conviction or imprisonment, Impotence, Adultery, Alcoholism or drug addiction, Wife is pregnant by another at the time of marriage without husband’s knowledge, Willful desertion for 1 year, Endangering the life of the spouse, Abandonment for 2 years, Cruel and inhuman treatment, Indignities that make the spouse’s life intolerable.

Property distribution: Equitable

TEXAS Grounds For Divorce: The marriage has become insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities that destroys the legitimate ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. Living Separate and Apart for Three Years. Felony conviction or imprisonment. Cruelty. Adultery. Abandonment. Confinement in a Mental Hospital.

Property distribution: Community Property

UTAH Grounds: Irreconcilable differences; Husband and wife have lived separately under a decree of separate maintenance of any state for 3 consecutive years without cohabitation. Impotence; Adultery; Willful desertion for more than one year; Felony conviction or imprisonment. Willful neglect; Habitual drunkenness; Cruel physical and mental treatment; Incurable insanity.

Property distribution: Equitable

VERMONT Grounds: Living apart for six consecutive months. Adultery; Imprisonment for 3 years; Intolerable severity; Willful desertion or when either party has been absent for 7 years; Incurable insanity.

Property distribution: Equitable

VIRGINIA Grounds For Divorce: Living separate and apart without any cohabitation and without interruption for 1 year with children. Living separately and apart without cohabitation and without interruption for six months without children. Adultery or sodomy; Imprisonment for more 1 one year; Where either party has been guilty of cruelty; Willfully deserted or abandoned the other.

Property distribution: Title State

WASHINGTON Grounds: Irretrievable breakdown. Imcompatibility, Living separately and apart for five years, Cruel and abusive treatment, Adultery, Intemperance, Insanity, Non-support, Abandonment

Property distribution: Community Property

WEST VIRGINIA Grounds: Irreconcilable differences. Two years of separation or absence. Drug addiction, Reasonable apprehension of bodily harm, False accusation of adultery or homosexuality, Conduct or treatment which destroys or tends to destroy the mental or physical well-being, happiness and welfare of the other and render continued cohabitation unsafe or unendurable. Abuse or neglect of spouse or child, Adultery, Felony Conviction, Permanent and Incurable Insanity, Habitual drunkenness or drug use.

Property distribution: Title State

WISCONSIN Grounds For Divorce: Irretrievable breakdown. Living apart continuously for 12 months or more immediately prior to commencement of the action and one party has so stated, the court, after hearing, shall make a finding that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

Property distribution: Equitable

WYOMING Grounds: Irreconcilable differences in the marital relationship. Incurably insane for at least 2 years.

Property distribution: Equitable

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA Grounds For Divorce: Separation Voluntary: 6 months, Involuntary: 1 year.

Property distribution: Equitable


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