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What Does Grounds For Divorce Mean?


Understanding the grounds for divorce is important for anyone considering or going through the process of ending a marriage. After all, divorce is not simply a matter of deciding to end a marriage, there are legal reasons, or grounds, that need to be cited.

When you discuss the different reasons for ending a marriage, the significance of these grounds, and alternatives like collaborative divorce with a seasoned Tampa family lawyer, you will be able to identify the best path for your unique situation.

Fault-Based Compared to No-Fault Grounds

Grounds for divorce refer to the legal reasons that justify the dissolution of a marriage. In Florida, there are both no-fault and fault-based grounds for divorce. No-fault grounds, such as irreconcilable differences, do not assign blame to either party. Conversely, fault-based grounds require one spouse to prove that the other committed a specific wrongdoing.

Common fault-based grounds for divorce include the following.

  • If one spouse engages in extramarital affairs, it can be cited as a ground for divorce but proof will have to be provided.
  • Cruelty or domestic violence. Physical or emotional abuse can be grounds for divorce and Florida courts take these allegations seriously, recognizing the need for a safe environment for all parties involved.
  • If a spouse willfully deserts the marriage for an extended period, the deserted spouse may have grounds for divorce based on abandonment.

It is essential to recognize that many couples do not pursue fault-based grounds. Instead, they cite no-fault reasons. The most common no-fault ground for divorce, irreconcilable differences, acknowledges that the marriage is broken beyond repair. The couple is asserting that they have simply grown apart. In other situations, spouses who have lived separately for a specific duration can cite living apart as grounds for divorce.

The Pros of Pursuing a Collaborative Divorce

A no-fault, collaborative divorce is an alternative dispute resolution process that encourages open communication and cooperation. When possible, pursuing a collaborative divorce means you can minimize conflict and foster a more amicable atmosphere.

Additionally, the proceedings in a collaborative divorce are confidential, providing a level of privacy that traditional courtroom divorces may not afford, and the couple maintains control over the decisions and outcomes, rather than leaving them to a judge.

But also recognize that an uncontested dissolution of marriage relies on communication, so it may not be possible in cases of ongoing conflict. Couples who have substantial assets or complex financial arrangements may need expert evaluations as part of the process as well.

Whether you are interested in pursuing a collaborative divorce or believe you are in a situation where an uncontested dissolution is not feasible, talk to a Tampa family lawyer. Attorneys can provide you with the clarity and support you need to move forward and embark on a new chapter in life.

Could a no-fault divorce be an option for you? The legal team at Blair H. Chan, III can guide you through a collaborative marriage dissolution or a fault-based divorce. Schedule your consultation today. To learn more, call 813-280-5301.

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