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Should I change the declared grounds for divorce after I file?

Understanding Grounds for Divorce: A Comprehensive Guide


You can change your declared grounds for divorce after you file, provided you’re in a state that offers fault divorces. Whether you should do so depends on the circumstances of your case, but it can be beneficial in some situations.

Deciding on Your Grounds for Divorce

When you file for divorce, you need to select grounds at that time. The available grounds will vary depending on the state where you reside.

Every state has no-fault divorce available, and there are certain states where this is the only available option. This means that you don’t have the option of choosing a grounds that will put the fault of the divorce onto your spouse, and vice versa.

George FernandezGeorge Fernandez
14:16 30 Apr 24
Excellent 10 out of 10, Helped resolve my case. Jeremy explained everything and made everything easy to understand.
21:33 24 Apr 24
If you are looking for a lawyer that listens, is aggressive where needed, and holds his word above all else, Todd is the best pick. I had hired multiple attorneys prior to hiring the Spodek Group for a white collar case. The first thing that stood out to me was the cost, as anyone going through the process and dealing with the system, money was tight at that time - especially after hiring and firing multiple lawyers. The cost was not as high as others which was definitely a plus. Todd's intake process was also unlike other attorneys. He took the time to actually listen. He cared. He was trying to put himself in my shoes while I was explaining the situation to him and he really took the time to understand the whole situation. Other lawyers will give you 15 mins and send you a retainer agreement. Not Todd, I think he spent almost two hours with me as I was explaining everything.Not only was he great during the onboarding process, he was supportive and very informative through the entire plea process and eventually sentencing. After hiring him, I asked if I should hire a prison consultant, he told me to save my money as he would do everything they would. He was right and held up to his word. Later on I would hear from others that went with the prison consultants that they were a waste of money - I am glad I listened to Todd!When it came time for sentencing, two days prior to sentencing, the prosecutor tried increasing my proposed prison time by almost double - apparently a normal move. Todd and his team worked with me non-stop through the weekend prior to sentencing to ensure that I was not given additional prison time. Again, he took the time to listen and came up with a strategy to explain the case with great detail.Unfortunately, I did plead guilty as that was my best option. Todd and his whole team wrote up nearly 300 pages of a summary of what happened and why I should not be given prison time. If I breakdown the amount I spent with Todd versus the amount of work that I saw being done, I am shocked I was not charged four times as much. The other benefit was, a lot of criminal defense lawyers were just a single attorney with a paralegal or two. Todd had a team of people that I dealt with (5-7 people that I interacted with), but he was ALWAYS accessible. It would never take him more than an hour to reply unless he was in court.I was sentenced to prison and I was emotionally distraught. Todd and his team did whatever they could even after sentencing to make sure I was alright. He personally stayed in touch with my family to ensure I was doing alright and offered support to them. Most lawyers would consider the job complete at sentencing, not Todd.After prison, Todd still spent time with me to make sure I was on the right track and avoiding any potential risks in the future. He has also been giving advice on how to navigate probation etc and has not been looking at the clock for billing.Although I wish I had never been arrested in the first place, I am glad I had Todd and his team in my corner. Without them I likely would have had to spend a lot more time in prison than I did.Thank you, Todd, and the entire Spodek Law team, for helping turn what was a nightmare into a manageable situation!
Yelva Saint-PreuxYelva Saint-Preux
19:26 19 Apr 24
I am immensely grateful to the entire team at Spodek Law Group for their unwavering dedication and exceptional expertise throughout my case. From our initial consultation to the final resolution, their professionalism and tireless advocacy made all the difference. Their strategic approach and attention to detail instilled confidence in me every step of the way.Thanks to their hard work and commitment, we achieved a truly favorable outcome that exceeded my expectations. Not only did they navigate the complexities of my case with precision, but they also provided invaluable support and guidance during what was undoubtedly a challenging time. I cannot recommend Spodek Law Group highly enough, especially attorneys Todd Spodek and Claire Banks; they are beacons of excellence in the legal profession.YSP.
Katherine SunKatherine Sun
18:08 18 Apr 24
my lawyer is Alex Zhik. Efficient, patient and professional
Nun yaNun ya
17:48 18 Apr 24
Todd, Ralph and Alex are amazing. Helped my husband get from a double digit number with multiple charges to a single digit, by the time I blink he will be out. They very professional and help with all your needs. They dealt with my anxiety and worry very well and they understand that your family member needs to get home as soon as possible.
Keisha ParrisKeisha Parris
20:45 15 Mar 24
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko BeautyTaïko Beauty
16:26 15 Mar 24
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence.Thank you team!
K MarK Mar
01:37 25 Jan 24
I recently had Spodek Law Group represent me for a legal matter in NYC and I am thoroughly impressed with their services.Alex Zhik secured the best possible outcome for my case.It was a seamless journey from the initial consultation to the resolution of my legal matter. From the moment I spoke to Todd about my case, his enthusiasm to help was evident, setting a positive tone for the entire experience. The efficiency and professionalism displayed by the team is commendable.A particularly noteworthy aspect of their service is their user-friendly portal to upload your documents/evidence. This not only simplified the process, but showcases their commitment to streamline the client experience.Lastly, in an industry where legal fees can often be a concern, I found their pricing to be very reasonable, making needing legal assistance feel accessible and stress-free.I am grateful for their support and wouldn't hesitate to turn to them again in the future.

In a no-fault state, the grounds for divorce that you select will typically be called irreconcilable differences, although in some states it goes by a different title. This term means that you and your spouse have problems that you can’t fix. Since no-fault differences have gotten increasingly popular due to their convenience and lower cost than fault divorces, irreconcilable differences is one of the most common grounds for divorce.

In a state that allows you to assign fault for a divorce, you can choose from several different grounds. Available grounds and what each entails can vary from state to state. A few of the most common grounds are adultery, cruelty, abandonment, mental illness, and criminal offenses.

When you select your grounds for divorce, there are a couple things to keep in mind. You can choose multiple grounds, and this is a good idea if you have multiple valid reasons for the divorce. You’ll need to prove to the court that any grounds you’ve chosen are legitimate. It’s smart to have multiple grounds chosen, that way if the court doesn’t accept one, you still have another. Of course, you don’t want to choose grounds you can’t prove because that will damage your credibility.

Changing Your Grounds After You File

Since you can’t choose from a list of grounds in no-fault states, you’re unable to change grounds there. In states that allow fault divorces, you are able to change grounds after filing. You can either change your grounds from one fault to another, or you can change to irreconcilable differences and go from a fault divorce to a no-fault divorce.

Why would you change your grounds? There are a few situations where it could be advantageous to you.

The first is if you’ve decided there’s a fault that better addresses your situation than the one you originally chose. After all, you want to choose the most accurate grounds so you can argue your case as effectively as possible.

The second is if your spouse requests that you change the grounds. Spouses may do this if they don’t agree with the grounds you originally chose, which is especially common with grounds that are more subjective.

Let’s say that you originally filed for divorce and listed your spouse’s cruelty as the reason. If your spouse also ended up moving out, he may ask you to switch your grounds from cruelty to abandonment. There’s less of a negative connotation to abandonment than with cruelty. With cruelty, your spouse would be admitting to malicious behavior, whereas with abandonment, he’d be admitting to leaving on a certain date.

Even if you think your original grounds are valid, choosing grounds that your partner will agree with is going to make the divorce go much smoother.

Finally, you could change your grounds to irreconcilable differences. You may do this if you decide that you don’t want your spouse to be at fault for the divorce, or you may do this if you want to speed up the divorce process. If your spouse doesn’t agree to admit to any fault in the divorce, then you’d need to go to trial to prove your case, and this can get costly.

The most important thing to realize is that it’s fine to change your grounds after you’ve filed for divorce. It’s not going to negatively impact your credibility with the court if you decide to change anything.

Talking to your divorce lawyer is the best way to figure out if it’s a good idea to change your grounds. He can explain how changing your grounds could help you get a quicker resolution.

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