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What are grounds for divorce?

Grounds are the legal reasons for requesting a divorce. When a person initiates a divorce by filing a complaint, he or she has to state the reason for requesting that divorce. The reason or reasons are the grounds.

Each state’s statutory law defines the legal circumstances within its jurisdiction that are grounds for divorce. Within each jurisdiction, grounds have precise legal definitions. When the facts meet the statutory criteria for ending a marriage under a given state’s divorce laws, the aggrieved spouse is said to have grounds for action. He or she becomes the plaintiff or petitioner, who is the party initiating the action. The party who replies is the defendant or respondent.