What Does it Mean to Establish Grounds?

Establishing grounds means providing reasons that serve as a basis for demanding legal relief or any other similar legal processes. In theory, establishing grounds in law is achieved by presenting the basis of justification for legal action, such as divorce. The requirement to establish grounds can be found in most realms of law in the United States.

This process is predominant in a variety of legal fields, especially in family law and criminal law. Most courts require that one establishes grounds before beginning any type of legal action.

Key Takeaways

  • Establish grounds refers to providing the reasons sufficient in law as a basis to justify legal relief.
  • It is commonly used in a variety of legal fields, including divorce law, custody law, and criminal law. 
  • One is required to establish grounds in divorce, but he or she can opt for a no-fault divorce.

Establishing Grounds in Law

  1. Divorce Law

One of the first steps when it comes to filing for a divorce is establishing grounds. Before the court can begin dividing marital property and handling custody arrangements, the spouse filing for divorce must establish grounds. In all US states, couples have the option to file a no-fault divorce, which means there were no specific grounds or no individual party at fault for the divorce. However, in cases of a fault divorce, the spouse must provide the legal reasons that led him or her to file for divorce. Some typical grounds for divorce include adultery, cruelty, long-term abandonment and incarceration. 

  1. Custody Law

In order for a court to grant sole custody to a spouse, that spouse must establish legal grounds in support of his or her case. Almost all US states require the court to consider the best interests of the child before granting sole custody to a parent. There are several legal reasons, or grounds, that fall under this category. Sole custody may be awarded if the other parent has a history of abuse, neglect, substance abuse or mental illness.

  1. Criminal Law

Establishing grounds takes on a slightly different meaning in criminal law. In these cases, one typically must prove there is reasonable grounds before performing a variety of legal actions such as charging someone with a crime. According to Law Insider, reasonable grounds is “information that establishes enough accurate facts to give a trained law enforcement or criminal investigative agency officer reasonable basis to believe that a definable criminal offense is, has been, or may be committed.

Bottom Line

In a general sense, establishing grounds can be considered one of the first steps in starting any legal process. Whether you are faced with a fault divorce or pressing criminal charges against another person, establishing grounds is a crucial yet tricky component. It is important to make sure you have the proper reasoning to achieve legal relief while building your case. A skilled attorney can help you establish grounds, build your case and guide you through every step of the legal process.

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