The most common grounds for divorce vary by jurisdiction. Many countries and states within certain countries have no fault divorces. These no fault divorces, which may also be called irreconcilable differences or irretrievably deteriorated, are the most common grounds for divorce.
The no fault divorce cases vary by jurisdiction as to how they may be acquired. In some jurisdictions, there is a waiting period that must be completed prior to using no fault as the grounds for divorce. The waiting period may be as short as six months or as long as several years for a no fault divorce.
In other jurisdictions, the no fault grounds for divorce are based upon an irretrievably deteriorated marriage. To prove that the marriage has broken down to the point that it should be dissolved, the party must show that it is his or her intention not to continue in the marriage and that his or her behavior matches this intention. Thus the parties cannot continue to live in the same household and behave as husband and wife if they wish to use this basis as the grounds for divorce.
In cases in which the parties cannot claim or choose not to claim no fault as the grounds for divorce, they must show one or the other party was at fault. The most common fault grounds for divorce include abuse, adultery, abandonment, imprisonment and unreasonable behavior. The definition and requirements for each of these reasons for divorce varies by jurisdiction. The more egregious the behavior, the greater the action might be considered as a fault in the divorce proceeding.
There are defenses for each of the fault-based grounds for divorce; the respondent in the divorce proceeding, however, may choose not to use a defense against the divorce action. Defenses to fault-based grounds for divorce are used more frequently when there is a larger marital estate or the opportunity for alimony. Once one of the parties claims the other is at fault during the divorce proceedings, the other party must decide how to respond.
Each of the fault grounds for divorce requires a different response. When one spouse files for divorce on the grounds of abuse or unreasonable behavior, for instance, the respondent’s answer might make a difference in how the court decides the case. When a spouse files for divorce based upon abandonment or imprisonment, the answer is less important, as these items are factual in nature.