list of reasons for divorce (9+ reasons to divorce)

In this blog post, we will present you with a list of reasons for divorce. We will also explain the types of divorces and the steps to follow if you decided to separate from your partner. 

A list of reasons for divorce

Below you will find a common list of reasons for divorce. We also explain why the following are considered valid grounds to file for divorce as soon as possible:

  1. Infidelity: Whether it is one or more one-off adventures or an ongoing extramarital affair, the fact of being unfaithful can be considered a fault after a judge has assessed it.
  1. Breach of the duty of cohabitation: By duty of cohabitation is meant the fact of living under the same roof and having sex with one’s spouse. Leaving the marital home is therefore considered a fault, as is refusing to have sex with your partner for months.
  1. Domestic/physical violence: Domestic/physical violence constitutes a breach of the duty of respect. Domestic violence is understood to mean any physical attack (assault and battery) inflicted on the spouse. This is also valid if the spouse is violent towards the children or if he willfully degrades the place of life of the family.
  1. Verbal violence: Insults, threats, humiliation and denigration are considered breaches of the duty of respect, in the same way as physical violence. This includes all insulting, hurtful, threatening remarks made in the privacy of the couple or in public.
  1. Failure to contribute to the expenses of the marriage: This type of fault is admitted when one of the spouses retains all his salary for his personal expenses and personal well-being and does not participate in the expenses of the family.
  1. Breach of the duty of assistance: The fact that a spouse does not support his spouse in the event of professional or family difficulties or in the event of illness is considered a fault.

Some relevant examples:

  • A husband who hides from his wife that he has a double life and had a child with his mistress may be considered a fault.
  • A woman who refuses to have intimate relations with her husband for months, who does nothing to make things better (see a doctor, a psychologist, etc.) may be accused of having committed a fault. 

However, a spouse cannot blame a past fault on his spouse if the latter has been forgiven and it has not been the trigger for the divorce.

In addition, certain faults can be excused by the judge when they are directly related to the behaviour of the spouse (for example, the refusal to have sexual relations with his spouse following infidelity or physical violence).

Other reasons for divorce admitted by a Judge

  1. Failure towards children: Irresponsible or even dangerous behaviour towards children can be considered as a fault.
  1. Jealousy, possessiveness: excessive behaviour that harms one of the spouses and affects their well-being, the balance of the marriage as well as the family can constitute a fault.
  1. The excessive practice of sport or religion: an excessive lifestyle can also be considered a fault, when one of the spouses tries to impose his rules, his convictions, his way of acting and think.
  1. Addictive behaviour: alcoholism, smoking and any other addictive behaviour that impairs the proper functioning of the marriage can be considered as a fault in the event of divorce.

The different types of divorce

There are several procedures for divorce.

  • Either the parties agree on the principle of divorce and its consequences: in this case divorce by mutual consent is applicable.
  • Either the spouses agree on the principle of divorce but not on the conditions: in this case, the accepted divorce procedure applies.
  • For other cases, that is to say, when the spouses do not agree on the principle of divorce or on the consequences, there are divorce proceedings for fault, for the permanent alteration of the marital bond.
  • Finally, there is the legal separation which is to be distinguished from the actual divorce proceedings.

Divorce proceedings by mutual consent

This is a very popular procedure because it is the fastest and the cheapest. But it requires the spouses to come to an agreement on the divorce and all that it involves.

  • Amicable divorce proceedings 

This procedure is called the “amicable procedure”. Indeed it is chosen when the two spouses are in agreement on the divorce and on these consequences.

With the help of their lawyers, the spouses will draft an agreement which will settle the effects of the divorce: concerning the division of property, the fate of the family home, the determination of the compensatory allowance if there is one, the custody of the children.

  • Simplified divorce proceedings

The procedure is simplified because the family court judge is no longer involved. It is also for this reason that the spouses must be assisted by two separate lawyers: to maintain fairness between the spouses.

Before signing the agreement, the spouses must wait for a reflection period of 15 days from receipt. The agreement is sent to the notary within 7 days after signing. Once the agreement is completed, the lawyers will file it with the notary, who in turn will file it in the minutes to give it enforceable force within 15 days.

It is also the notary who will check whether the agreement respects the interests of each of the former spouses.

However, if the spouses have children and one or more of them want to be heard, the proceedings become judicial and take place before the family court judge. In this case, therefore, the agreement does not take the form of a private deed.

In this case, the spouses can be represented by the same lawyer because it is the judge who will ensure respect for equity between the spouses.

The lawyer will file the divorce petition before the tribunal on which the spouses depend. The spouses will be summoned to a hearing where the judge will hear the spouses one by one and then together.

It is the family court judge who will approve the agreement and give it binding force by homologating it after hearing the child.

When the judge has pronounced the divorce, only a classification appeal is possible within 15 days of the divorce (no appeal procedure). It is only in the event of a refusal to approve the agreement by the judge that the spouses can appeal.

  • Accelerated divorce proceedings

As this procedure is not judicial, all the deadlines incumbent upon it are shorter. Except, of course, in the case where the children wish to be heard by the judge.

Divorce proceedings for a fault divorce

The spouse who requests the divorce proceedings for fault must imperatively invoke facts constituting a serious or renewed violation of the duties and obligations of marriage, according to the civil code

It is up to the applicant spouse to provide proof of the facts which may be:

  • domestic violence;
  • non-compliance with maintenance obligations of relief and assistance resulting from the marriage;
  • abandonment of the marital home;

Step 1: The initial request

The requesting spouse must hire a lawyer to present his request to the judge. This request must state the grounds for the divorce and the request for interim measures.

Be careful, in any case, the request must present the legal basis or the facts which are at the origin of the divorce!

The request is filed before the tribunal on which the family residence depends The other spouse is informed of the request and must be represented by a lawyer.

Step 2: Conciliation

This step is mandatory and must be done before the court summons. During the conciliation the family court judge will summon the spouses and try to reconcile them, it is in a way a mediation procedure.

There will be three interviews:

  1. one for each of the two spouses separately,
  2. an interview with the two spouses together as well as their lawyers.
  3. A reflection period of 8 days is left to the spouses following the conciliation procedure if the judge considers that reconciliation is possible.
  4. The judge can decide to proceed to a new conciliation procedure within 6 months (which suspends the divorce procedure).

The judge will pronounce either an order of non-conciliation or conciliation depending on whether the spouses have ended up being reconciled or not. In the event of non-conciliation, the judge will set provisional measures pending the pronouncement of the final divorce (such as alimony for example).

Step 3: legal action.

The non-conciliation order will allow the requesting spouse to file a legal summons within 3 months. If the 3 months have expired, the other spouse can proceed with the summons. Within 30 months maximum if no summons is filed, the procedure lapses.

During the proceedings before the judge, the spouses can at any time change the legal basis of the divorce and request for example a divorce by acceptance of the breakup or mutual consent. However, when the request to change the basis is accepted by the judge, it is no longer possible to return to the first legal basis in the case of the second instance.

Step 4: Judge’s decision.

After examining the request and the evidence, the Judge will rule.

-The judge may consider that the reasons given do not constitute a fault divorce and therefore reject the request. Conversely, he can pronounce the divorce as a fault of the exclusive wrongs of one spouse or the shared wrongs of both spouses.

The innocent spouse can claim damages if the divorce is pronounced at the exclusive fault of his ex-spouse.

The bottom line

In a divorce, the spouses end their marriage and settle all the consequences. Depending on the form of divorce they wish to initiate, the procedure will not be the same as will the fate of the liquidation of the marriage.

In fact, the procedure always begins with calling in a lawyer. If the spouses choose the amicable procedure they can no longer be represented by the same lawyer. 

To officially launch the procedure, the lawyer will draft a petition or an agreement (depending on the form of divorce) that expresses the request for a divorce. The request is sent to the family court judge, this starts the legal procedure.

The agreement is drawn up by the lawyers and the parties and then filed with the notary to give it enforceability and formalize the divorce.

We hope that everything goes well for you and if you have any questions please let us know!

FAQ on A list of reasons for divorce

What is the #1 cause of divorce?

There #1 cause of divorce depends on the number of years the couple was married, whether they had children or not, and on other circumstances. But in most cases, people divorce because of money issues, infidelity, lack of commitment or domestic/physical abuse. 

What are the 5 reasons for divorce?

The five most common reasons for divorce are:

  • Infidelity;
  • Lack of commitment;
  • Moral/Physical abuse;
  • Desertion;
  • Unreasonable behaviour. 

Who pays divorce costs?

Usually, both parts pay for the divorce costs, but if a Judge decides, one spouse may be ordered to pay the divorce costs for the other spouse as well. 

Is money the leading cause of divorce?

Money is indeed the leading cause of divorce, and a lot of money-generated conflicts are amongst the reasons why a couple decides to separate. 


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