What Do Grounds For Divorce Mean For Me?

By ReGain Editorial Team|Updated July 12, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Lauren Guilbeault, LMHC

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If you're considering getting a divorce, knowing what the allowed 'grounds for divorce' are in your area will be extremely important. These grounds will help you figure out if you are or aren't allowed to get that divorce after all. Only if you meet at least one of the different required grounds for your state will you be able to divorce, whether or not your partner wants to get that divorce as well.

What Are Grounds For Divorce?

If you're thinking about getting divorced, you probably have a reason, right? You didn't just wake up one morning and say, 'I think I'm going to get a divorce.' There is something about your partner or yourself or your relationship that changed so that you can't be happy with your partner anymore. Well, that may be your grounds for divorce, but it will depend on the specific state that you live in, whether that's going to be enough. Some states have very strict rules regarding when you can and can't get a divorce.

The most lenient states have what's called 'no-fault divorce. That means you and your partner say that you have 'irreconcilable differences.' Those differences could be anything at all, but it means that no matter what, you and your partner will not be able to come back together and make things work.

This is something you'll find in a large number of states, and it allows you and your partner to walk away from the relationship without any other reason. If your partner doesn't want to end the relationship, they can contest it (as with any of these other 'causes,' but many judges will still grant the divorce.

States that are stricter about their laws for divorce may not allow you to get one quite as easily. Rather than just saying you have irreconcilable differences, these states may make you say something specific that has happened within the relationship that causes you to want to end it.

If you don't have a 'cause,' they may refuse to grant the divorce or may require you to go through counseling or other attempts to 'fix' the relationship before they grant it. In these states, you'll need to sit down and think about what it is that you're unhappy about, but remember, the cause 'options' may vary from one state to the next.

  • Sexual harassment
  • Adultery
  • Desertion
  • Alcoholism
  • Disability
  • Imprisonment
  • Domestic violence
  • Incompatibility
  • Cruelty
  • Mental illness
  • Criminal conviction

If any of these apply in your situation, you will likely be able to get the divorce you're looking for. If you don't have any of these situations, but you do want a divorce, you may want to talk with an attorney in your area to find out more about your options and see what is available for you within your state.

Do You Need A Divorce?

Are you already down the rabbit hole and want to get the divorce and get it over with? Have you already thought long and hard about whether divorce is the best option and decided that this was the only way? Maybe you have, or maybe whatever is happening in your relationship doesn't require you to think all that long and hard before concluding. If you and your partner are suffering from simply a breakdown of the marriage relationship, however, it may be possible that the two of you can come back together and work things out.

Talk with your partner before you do anything else (as long as your reason for the divorce is something you would be willing to work through). It's possible that they don't realize how you feel or alienate you in a way that makes you feel alone. Maybe they've been doing something that you don't like, and they didn't know it, or maybe they did know it but didn't realize it was quite as bad as it is. It's up to you to tell your partner when they do something that you don't like, or else there's no way they can fix it.

Be open with your partner about what you're experiencing and what it would take for you to be happy. Listen to them as well and find out just what it would take for them to be happy. Once you know what each of you is looking for, it's time to think long and hard.

Can you do what it would take to make them happy? Do you want to? If you can and you will, you may start working on your relationship (provided they reach the same conclusion). If you can't, or you won't do whatever it is that will make them happy (or they can't or won't), then it might be time to think again about that divorce.

If you can't talk to your partner about what is happening or you or your partner decides that nothing will change then, it may be time to think hard about that divorce after all. Before you make that decision make sure you talk with a professional. We're not talking about talking to your attorney (though that's going to be important too). We're talking about going to a therapist or psychiatrist to look at yourself and your thoughts and feelings.

If you're upset or hurt, it's easy to jump to thinking that things are over and there's no way out. But there may be a light at the end of the tunnel if you're willing to work hard to get there. The key is making sure that you talk about yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings with a therapist to find out just what it's going to take to get you there. This is especially important if you feel that you're the one who has changed and your partner may not have. It's possible that by making changes in your own life, you can become happy again.

Getting Help

There are some stages in the process of divorce that you and your partner should consider getting help. For one thing, it's important to consider help before you ever consider divorce. Even if your reason for getting the divorce is solid and you absolutely will not change your mind, you want to seek out help for yourself because no matter your reasoning, it will be difficult for you to get through the process of divorce entirely unscathed.

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Talking to a professional once you and your partner decide to make things work is also important (provided you agree to make changes and try to make it work). You want to make sure you get some outside help that can give you a little push in the right direction. A professional will help you figure out what to talk about and help you open up a little in the right ways. That way, you start with a bit of an advantage to help your relationship.

If you decide to go ahead with the divorce, you'll want to talk to a professional during the proceedings and definitely after the divorce is finalized. Divorce is an extremely big change in your life, and no matter how you were feeling about it before the divorce took place, you're going to be experiencing some intense feelings as it's going on and after. It's hard to go through a divorce, even one that you feel like you're entirely 100% ready for. Don't underestimate how difficult things will be for you.

Regain Your Independence

Reaching out to a good therapist you feel comfortable with, and trust is the most important step, can also be difficult. Usually, you're limited by proximity, by the available therapists in your area, but you don't need to be. You can reach out to an entirely new group of therapists who may be able to help you without you ever having to leave home. That's because Regain is a way to find therapists entirely online. You find them online, talk to them online, and work through everything you need entirely online, doing it a unique service.

If you and your partner (or just you) are looking for professional help to get through your divorce or get past the consideration of divorce, it's definitely important to reach out to someone, and if you want to do it from the comfort of your own home, you're not going to find anything better than Regain.

This is where you'll find a range of different therapists so you can talk to someone you feel comfortable with. You'll also be able to carry out your therapy appointments from anywhere at all, including the comfort of your own home, which is the most important and most comfortable place of all.

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