lawyer with a couple for divorce

What are the Legally Acceptable Reasons for Divorce?

  • Irreconcilable differences is the most common reason for filing for divorce and in some states, it is considered a no-fault divorce.
  • Adultery, mental illness, and physical abuse/cruelty can also be used as grounds for divorce depending on state laws.
  • The legal process of filing for divorce involves meeting certain requirements, filing paperwork, attending court hearings and complying with the final decree.
  • Seeking legal advice is recommended before deciding to file for a divorce.
  • Filing for divorce should be a last resort after all other efforts have been made to try and save the marriage.

The legal process for getting a divorce can be daunting. To obtain a divorce, there must be grounds – legally acceptable reasons – why it is being sought. Knowing these will help determine whether filing for divorce is the best action for your situation. This article will take a look at some of the most common legally acceptable reasons for filing for divorce in the United States.

Irreconcilable Differences

This is the most common reason cited when filing for divorce, which means that the couple has irreconcilable differences that have led to an irretrievable marriage breakdown. This does not mean that one party has caused or contributed to this breakdown.

It simply means that there are too many differences between them, and they no longer wish to remain married. In some states, this is referred to as a “no-fault” divorce because neither party has committed any fault in causing the marriage breakdown.


Adultery occurs when one spouse has had sexual intercourse with a person outside of their marriage without their partner’s consent or knowledge. Adultery can be cited as a valid reason for seeking a legal separation or dissolution of marriage in many states, although it may not always result in an immediate divorce being granted, depending on the state laws where you live. It is important to note that adultery must be proven before it can be used as grounds for a legal separation or dissolution of marriage.

Physical Abuse/Cruelty

drnk father verbally abusing wife and daughter

Physical abuse or cruelty can also qualify as grounds for seeking either a legal separation or dissolution of marriage in certain states if there are documented instances where one spouse has physically abused the other (either through physical violence or verbal threats).

In addition, emotional abuse (such as intimidation) can also qualify depending on your state laws since emotional abuse can sometimes have just as damaging effects on relationships as physical abuse does.

Filing for Divorce

The legal process of filing for divorce can be complex and overwhelming, but it’s essential to understand the steps involved in order to protect yourself and make sure that everything runs smoothly. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Make Sure You Meet the Requirements

Before you can file for divorce, you will need to meet certain legal requirements. Depending on where you live, some of these requirements may include having lived in the state or county in question for a minimum amount of time and meeting any other residency requirements. Working with a reputable divorce attorney can help to ensure that you are meeting all the necessary requirements for filing for divorce.

File Your Paperwork

Once you’ve confirmed that all of the requirements have been met, you can begin filing the paperwork for your divorce case. In most cases, this will involve filling out forms that outline details such as grounds for divorce, division of property and assets, spousal support (if applicable), and more.

Attend Court Hearings

divorce court hearing

After filing your paperwork with the court system, there will likely be at least one hearing scheduled so that both parties involved in the divorce can present their evidence or ask questions related to their case. Depending on how complicated things are between both parties and what issues they need help resolving (such as child custody arrangements), additional hearings may be scheduled down the line if necessary.

Comply With the Final Decree

Once all court hearings have been concluded, and a decision has been reached, it is important to ensure that the final decree is complied with. This may include following through on any property divisions or spousal support arrangements outlined in the divorce agreement.

Final Thoughts

Understanding what constitutes legally acceptable reasons for filing for divorce is essential before deciding to end your relationship with your spouse. At the end of the day, it is important to remember that filing for divorce should be a last resort after all other efforts have been made to try and save the marriage. It is also recommended that you seek legal advice or consult with an attorney before deciding to file for a divorce.

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