Is staying with parents during pregnancy grounds for filing for divorce?

You don’t have to come up with creative reasons for getting a divorce anymore in the age of no-fault divorce (in the U.S.A.). 

You don’t have to find a reason to blame your spouse for seeking a divorce from your spouse. No-fault divorce literally means “no fault” need be shown as grounds for divorce. 

With these facts in mind, you almost don’t need to come up with an excuse a “good reason” to obtain a divorce anymore. I say “almost” because while it is true that you do not have to ascribe fault to your spouse as grounds for divorce, you usually have to give a legally recognized reason for the divorce, and in the jurisdiction where I practice divorce law (Utah), the no-fault basis that I’ve yet to have a court question or reject is “irreconcilable differences of the marriage”. Technically, a court could challenge one’s claims of irreconcilable differences and, if it determines that there are not, in fact, irreconcilable differences between the spouses, the court could deny the request for a decree of divorce and dismissed the divorce action, but I’ve never seen that happen in the 25 years I’ve been practicing law to date, and I doubt I ever will.  

Many would question the wisdom of no-fault divorce laws and their unintended consequences, but that doesn’t change the fact that no-fault divorce exists and exists in every state in the United States of America. 

So if you want a divorce, but you don’t have the typical fault-based grounds available to you, it doesn’t matter anymore. 

Now, to answer your specific question: if you sought a divorce purely on the grounds that your spouse lived with her parents during pregnancy, that would probably fail as grounds for divorce. However, if you were to allege that her separation from you for the duration of her pregnancy has caused irreconcilable differences, and you could prove that the marriage is irretrievably broken as a result, you’d win. You’d get a divorce. You might look like a heel for divorcing on those grounds, especially if your wife had good reason to need to spend most or all of her pregnancy in the presence and care of her parents (such as a high-risk pregnancy where she would need someone constantly with her in the event of an emergency or a sudden need to visit the hospital or doctor), but if you just couldn’t stand the fact that your wife stays with her parents during pregnancy and that cause you to give up on the marriage, the court would probably give you a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. 

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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