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What Are the Legal Reasons for Divorce?

The U.S. divorce rate peaked in 1980 at nearly 50%. Today, it stands at just over 42%, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This drop is largely due to fewer young adults getting married today. In the 1970s, almost one out of every three Americans aged 20-24 got hitched; now, only half of those aged 24-29 tie the knot.

Meanwhile, the percentage of divorces involving women has remained relatively steady since the 1960s. About 60% of divorces involve men and 40% involve women.

But while the overall divorce rate has declined, there are some states where the numbers have been increasing. In North Dakota, for example, the divorce rate increased by 11% between 2000 and 2010. And in New Jersey, the divorce rate grew by 3% during the same period.

As the number of unmarried couples living together has risen, so too has the number of people choosing to separate. From 1990 to 2012, the number of people filing for divorce in the United States rose by 35%.

Divorce is expensive. On average, it costs $30,000-$40,000 to file for divorce in the United Kingdom. In Canada, the cost ranges from $3,000-$6,000. And in Australia, the average cost hovers around $13,500.

In the United States, the average cost of a divorce is $5,000-$15,000. However, that figure varies based on whether the case goes to court or settles outside of court. If the couple decides to go to court, the average cost is $20,000-$25,000.

Divorce Rulings From State-to-State

Before you dive into divorce proceedings it's important to know there are different legal conditions surrounding grounds for divorce in each state across the United States.

There are four main categories of grounds for divorce: adultery, extreme cruelty, mental incapacity, and habitual drunkenness. These are just some of the most common ones. Some states allow for additional grounds such as desertion, while others do not.

For example, in North Carolina, one of the most popular choices for couples looking to end their marriages is extreme cruelty. However, in Texas, the same behavior cannot serve as a ground for divorce unless the spouse actually commits physical abuse against another person. In addition, some states require both parties to consent to the divorce, while others allow either party to file for a divorce without the consent of the other.

The following map displays the number of states where each type of ground is allowed. For example, California allows for extreme cruelty as a ground for divorce, whereas New York does not.

In many cases, the decision about whether or not to grant a divorce rests solely with the court. And, in some states, judges may refuse to grant a divorce based on certain criteria.

As a general rule, the longer you've been married, the less likely you'll be granted a divorce. If you're still together after 10 years, it's unlikely that you'll receive permission to separate.

What If There Are No Valid Reasons for Divorce?

In today's day and age, it seems like many people are opting for a no-fault type of divorce. In fact, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, about one out of every three marriages ends in divorce. With that being said, there are several different ways to end a marriage without having to cite a specific reason. For example, if you're unhappy with your partner, you could file for a no-fault divorce. On the flip side, if your relationship isn't healthy, you could opt for a no-fault divorce, too.

However, even though you don't have to provide a reason for ending your marriage, you do have to prove to the court that you've been living apart for six months or more. Also, you'll want to make sure that you know what grounds exist for filing for a no-fails divorce. You can check out our handy guide here to learn more about how to end a marriage without ever needing to give a reason.

Find the Right Lawyer Just a Click Away

Divorce is never easy. There are many things to consider, like financial issues, custody, child support, alimony, property division, and even legal fees. If you want to make sure your divorce goes smoothly, it helps to hire a professional lawyer.

If you decide to go ahead and file for divorce, there are certain steps you must take. First, you'll need to gather evidence that supports your claim. You might need to prove that you've been living apart for several months, or that you've been married for over three years.

Next, you'll need to write down what happened leading up to your separation. This includes the events that led to the breakup, as well as any problems you had during your marriage.

Finally, you'll need to file for your divorce. You'll need to show proof of residency and provide evidence of your marital status. Once you do, you'll need to pay a filing fee.

Once you have filed, you'll need to wait for a response from the opposing party. In most cases, you'll receive a letter telling you whether or not he or she wants to contest your request. If the answer is yes, you'll need to respond. If you don't, you'll automatically win.

An experienced divorce attorney in Harris County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Houston, Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Stafford, Texas at Thornton Esquire Law Group, PLLC, can provide guidance and offer advice throughout the entire process. Contact us today at www.thorntonesquirelawgroup.com for a free consultation.

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Selecting an attorney can be one of the most difficult decisions a person has to make. In what seems like an overwhelming sea of attorneys who do you choose? Are they qualified, compassionate, and are they willing to fight for you without compromising their integrity? When faced with this decision in 2016 I received this and more when I retained Rahlita Thornton as my attorney. Since 2016 she has represented me on several court cases and I've never been disappointed. She is well versed and very knowledgeable on many aspects of the law. Attorney Thornton and her staff work diligently to ensure no stone is left unturned and justice is served. When I was crippled with fear, bullied, and felt like giving up she was my voice. She is highly recommend and I'm truly blessed to have her in my life. TTW
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Attention & communication is very good when working with this professional legal team. They are here to help you whenever questions arise and explain details as they go. Thank you for taking the time to accept my case & working with me. P.L.