Divorce Grounds Fault and No-Fault Divorce Law for Each US State

In order to obtain a divorce, you must establish a reason or "grounds" for your divorce. There are generally two grounds provided by state laws for dissolving a marriage - fault-based divorce and no-fault divorce. State law varies with regard to which (or both) apply and a chart listed below indicates the law of each state.

If state law allows a "no-fault divorce" then one only needs to state that the marriage has collapsed and there is no need to prove which party is at fault for the failure of the marriage. A common no fault divorce claim is "irreconcilable differences." However, if state law requires grounds based upon fault, then it is required to provide a reason for the marital collapse and also prove that the other spouse was at fault. Common grounds for fault based divorce claims include adultery, abandonment, imprisonment, cruelty and abuse. Most states have both fault and no fault divorce and, at the time of the update of this article, all fifty U.S. states have some type of no fault divorce option. Some states also offer a separation-based option where living apart or separated for a period of time will qualify a spouse for divorce.
StateFaultNo-FaultSeparate
AlabamaYYN
AlaskaYYN
ArizonaYYN
ArkansasYYN
CaliforniaNYN
ColoradoNYN
ConnecticutYYY
DelawareYYN
D.C.YYY
FloridaNYN
GeorgiaYYN
HawaiiNYY
IdahoNYN
IllinoisNYN
IndianaNYN
IowaNYN
KansasNYN
KentuckyNYY
LouisianaNYN
MaineNYN
MarylandYYN
MassachusettsNYN
MichiganNYN
MinnesotaNYN
MississippiNYN
MissouriNYN
MontanaNYY
NebraskaNYN
NevadaNYY
New HampshireNYN
New JerseyYYN
New MexicoNYN
New YorkYYN
North CarolinaYYN
North DakotaNYN
OhioNYN
OklahomaNYN
OregonNYN
PennsylvaniaNYN
Rhode IslandNYN
South CarolinaYYN
South DakotaNYN
TennesseeNYN
TexasNYN
UtahNYN
VermontYYN
VirginiaYYN
WashingtonNYY
West VirginiaNYN
WisconsinNYY
WyomingNYN

As state law will change over time, it is important to confirm the law in your state at the time of your filing for divorce.
Divorce & Family Law
Divorce Grounds
About author
Michael Wechsler
Michael M. Wechsler is an experienced attorney, founder of TheLaw.com, A. Research Scholar at Columbia Business School and of-counsel to Kaplan, Williams & Graffeo, LLC. He was also an SVP and chief Internet strategist at Zedge.net and legal consultant at Kroll Ontrack, a leading service e-discovery and computer forensics service provider.

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