What are the “Grounds for Divorce”?

What does the term “Grounds for Divorce” even mean?  Basically, it means the reason or the basis.  It answers the question: what right do you have to ask for a divorce?  Oddly, in some states, there has to be a “reason” why one is filing for a divorce, an excuse if you will.  In these states, if there’s no valid reason, then you’re staying married, like it or not.  In others, they have simply written laws for what is called a “No-Fault Divorce”, wherein a party is not required to state why they want a divorce, it simply does not matter, they just have to want it.

Grounds for a Divorce in Missouri

Missouri took a middle ground.  In Missouri we have adopted the concept of a modified “no-fault” dissolution of marriage, making it generally unnecessary to prove cruelty, adultery, etc., in order to obtain a dissolution of marriage. The usual ground for a divorce is to show the court that the marriage of the parties is irretrievably broken and that there is no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved, because of discord or conflicts of personality that destroy the legitimate ends of the marriage relationship and prevents any reasonable expectation of reconciliation. You’ll see this “reasoning” in nearly every Petition for Divorce filed in the state as it’s become stock language.  “Irretrievably broken” is basically an advanced case of not getting along with each other, and in Missouri, it’s your grounds for a divorce. In a few cases, it may be appropriate to allege other grounds but for most cases, there’s simply no need.

Practical Consequences

Hence, it would be incorrect to call Missouri a “No-Fault” state as some do, though practically speaking it’s pretty much true.  In Missouri though, you have to allege that the marriage is irretrievably broken.

You should discuss the grounds for a divorce at the first appointment with your divorce lawyer.


Markwell Law, LLC
1031 Peruque Crossing Ct, Ste. B
O’Fallon, MO 63366
Phone: 636-486-1093
Fax: 636-634-3462

About the author 

Guss Markwell

Originally from St. Louis Missouri, I grew up in a strong Midwest and moral family who taught me right from wrong and to stand up for my rights and the rights of others. In these tough economic times, you need an advocate on your side. Why do I practice law? Often, people are facing seemingly insurmountable opposition with little or no ability to overcome great odds. It is my position that we should all be fighting for those who find themselves alone, afraid, and at times unpopular. I subscribe to the notion that a society should be judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members. I represent, and I fight for, those people. “There is light at the end of that tunnel, don’t stop.”

Leave a Reply
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}