Divorce Laws: Grounds for Divorce

The divorce laws in the different juridictions provide information about the grounds for divorce.


In general our take on the matter is that laws are not there to make deciding to divorce easy. People enter into a marriage and it becomes a sealed partnership, whether or not they get married by an institution of belief. It is a good idea to have witnesses when you marry, and share this wonderful experience with others. Marriage is an institution that constitutes the moral fiber of communities. When that institution is compromised, society, not just one family, is affected.

Discussing the grounds for divorce is a touchy subject. It is painful for the couple, unfair and confusing for the children, a disappointment for society. Laws of divorce at least give a framework to make the process as fair as possible.

We may want to say - work out your troubles, stay married!- because the hurt for many parties will be obvious. People should work out their troubles on a best efforts basis before considering divorce. This working out becomes even more imperative when children are involved.But if two people no longer love each other and even a third party, like a marriage counsellor or through mediation, says it is time to sever ties for the sake of everyone, then of course divorce is the next logical step.

Laws of divorce provide the grounds for divorce you can fall back on. Let us discuss some specific grounds for a couple to break their union.

Grounds for divorce: legal technicalities

If the fault-based divorce is sought by a couple, a heavy burden of proof rests on the spouse who is requesting the court NOT to grant the divorce. There are four ways to prevent a court from granting a divorce in a fault-based divorce:

  • collusion
  • connivance
  • condonation
  • the absence of child support.

These four are used in both the US and Canada.

This is where a divorce case gets more technical and your best alternative is to discuss these with an experienced divorce lawyer in your state or province.

Grounds for Divorce in the US

All 52 states of the US allow a divorce regardless of who is at fault. A no-fault divorce is one wherein the spouse who is seeking a divorce does not have to prove that his or her spouse did something wrong.

An American who wants to obtain a divorce simply states a reason for the divorce as long as the reason is deemed valid by the state. In most states, valid reasons include:

  • Incompatibility
  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Irremediable breakdown of the marriage

For more US related grounds for divorce, see: laws on divorce in US.

Grounds for Divorce in Canada

The Canada Divorce Act of 1986 recognizes only one ground for divorce: the breakdown of the marriage.

What does constitute breakdown?

  • Spouses have lived apart for one year prior to filing for divorce
  • Adultery
  • Physical and mental cruelty

For Canada related grounds for divorce see: divorce laws in Canada.

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