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Why Women File for Divorce From Their Husbands

Every marriage is different. So are the reasons why women choose to divorce their husbands.

Although they vary, these reasons tend to fall into two groups: reasons for a no-fault divorce and reasons for a fault-based divorce. Most states offer no-fault divorces, which means that one person is not blamed for the failure of the marriage. Only some states offer fault-based divorces, which means that one spouse was responsible for destroying the relationship.

No-Fault Reasons Why Women Divorce Their Husbands

The following are among the top reasons women divorce their husbands, perhaps because more states offer no-fault divorces than fault-based ones:

  • Incompatibility or insupportability: This reason means the couple has simply reached the point where they can no longer get along in their marriage. Women who choose this reason are often making the stronger statement that they should not have married their husband in the first place.
  • Irreconcilable differences: When a woman names irreconcilable differences as her reason for wanting a divorce, she is saying that she and her spouse cannot agree-now or in the future-on specific fundamental issues. An example issue is how the couple is raising their children.
  • Irretrievable breakdown: A woman may say her marriage suffers from an irretrievable breakdown if she believes it is so broken that it simply cannot be fixed. Courts will award no-fault divorces for this reason.

Fault-Based Reasons Why Women Divorce Men

If a woman believes her husband has done something to justify a divorce, she may file for divorce citing one or more of the following reasons:

  • Cruelty: A woman may try to divorce her husband on the grounds of cruelty if he has hurt her either physically or mentally. She must show that this cruel treatment makes it unsafe for her to continue living with him.
  • Insanity: States allow insanity, or mental illness, to be used as a reason for divorce. Typically, the mental illness must continue for two to five years-the actually time varies by state-or a doctor must diagnose the disease as incurable.
  • Impotence: This refers to a male's inability to have sexual intercourse. A woman may request a divorce from her husband if he is unable to have sexual intercourse with her.
  • Abandonment or desertion: If one spouse leaves the home with the intention not to return, this is considered abandonment. The required time frame for the desertion varies by state but typically is one year or more.
  • Adultery:A court may award a divorce based on adultery if one spouse has had voluntary sexual intercourse with someone outside the marriage. If a woman seeks a divorce based on this reason, she must be prepared to offer the court proof that her husband has cheated on her. The same burden of proof, of course, applies when the husband is the one filing for divorce.
  • Bigamy: Bigamy means that one spouse was already married, with no annulment or divorce, when he or she entered into another marriage. If the woman is the innocent spouse in this situation, she may be granted a divorce based on the grounds of bigamy.


If you are a woman considering divorce, a divorce attorney can help you evaluate your options. Your lawyer will help you decide whether to seek a no-fault or a fault-based divorce and then provide the court with evidence that supports your position.