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Last Updated on: 13th October 2023, 06:16 am
Ending a marriage is never easy. While some couples may mutually agree to divorce, others may experience emotional distress when one spouse decides they want out. This can lead to the question – could emotional distress be grounds for divorce?The short answer is no. Currently, U.S. divorce law does not include emotional distress as a basis for granting a divorce. However, the emotional impact of divorce is complex, and there are some cases where emotional factors may play an indirect role. Let’s break it down.
In the United States, each state establishes its own legal grounds for divorce. The most common are:
As you can see, emotional distress itself is not included as grounds for divorce under current U.S. laws. The reasons tend to focus more on conduct and separation versus emotional impact.
While emotional distress alone cannot end a marriage, emotions can influence other divorce factors. Some examples:
So you can see how emotions may play an indirect role in establishing other grounds for divorce, even if distress alone is not sufficient.
Some legal experts argue emotional distress should be added as grounds for no-fault divorce. Reasons include:
However, there are also arguments against making emotional distress grounds for divorce:
Overall, there are good-faith arguments on both sides of this issue. For now, emotional distress remains an indirect factor in divorce rather than grounds in and of itself. But as social values around marriage evolve, divorce laws may eventually shift to include emotional components.
If one spouse’s conduct causes severe emotional anguish, the other spouse may have additional legal options even if the behavior is not enough to warrant divorce. Some examples:
In some states, couples can pursue legal separation instead of full divorce. This may involve filing for separate maintenance and living apart while remaining legally married. This can provide financial protections while evaluating if divorce is the right move when emotional distress results from issues like:
If such issues improve, reconciliation may still be possible.
If one spouse‘s behavior is threatening or abusive, the other can obtain a restraining order even without filing for divorce. This provides protection when emotional distress results from:
Restraining orders can prohibit contact and establish temporary custody/support orders when needed for safety.
In rare cases where conduct is truly extreme, one spouse may be able to sue the other for emotional distress under tort law. This could include instances of:
However, legal standards for proving such claims are high and courts are cautious about allowing them within an intact marriage.So while emotional distress alone isn’t grounds for divorce, other legal options may be available depending on the circumstances.
Divorce is a major life change under even the most amicable circumstances. When one spouse is experiencing emotional distress, it can be extremely challenging to think clearly and make wise legal choices. Here are some tips:
With wisdom and guidance, emotional distress can be worked through over time in many cases. But if divorce does prove necessary, you’ll know you explored every option first.
Emotional distress alone is currently not grounds for divorce under U.S. laws. However, it can indirectly influence other factors like separation that then enable divorce. Arguments exist on both sides as to whether emotional components should allow no-fault divorce. Yet for now, sufficient separation or conduct-based fault must be shown.When one spouse‘s actions cause severe distress, legal separation or restraining orders are options to provide protection while evaluating if divorce is advisable. And if conduct is extreme, tort lawsuits for distress may be possible though difficult to pursue during an intact marriage.
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