If you are filing for divorce, you need to have grounds before you file. We don’t mean coffee grounds. Grounds are reasons for a divorce. In Maryland and Virginia, there are both fault grounds and no-fault grounds. DC has only no-fault grounds.

All divorces require proof of grounds. If you cannot prove your grounds for divorce, accusing your spouse of these grounds may be grounds for the award of legal fees to your spouse. Pending the final divorce you should not do anything to give your spouse any grounds for divorce because it can probably be used against you.

The grounds for a final divorce are as follows:

District of Columbia

Note that in Maryland you cannot be living separate and apart under the same roof if you want to file under voluntary or involuntary separation grounds. Virginia and the District of Columbia provide for separation while living under the same roof but this may be difficult to prove.