A divorce, or the dissolution of a marriage, can be a long and painful process, creating stress and turmoil for both the unhappy couple and any offspring. Divorce laws vary all over the world; it is a legalized process in almost every country except for the British Crown Dependency of Sark, the Philippines and Vatican City. Each country has its own set of laws governing the grounds for divorce and the divorce process.
In the United States, almost half of all marriages end in divorce. Not only is divorce a legal process of terminating a marriage, but it initiates other disputes that must be settled before the couple can go their own way. These disputes are typically over division of property, child custody, and spousal or child support. In general, divorce is a major process that requires legal intervention and mediation.
Divorce can be caused by many things, ranging from monetary issues to domestic violence. It is estimated that up to 65% of marriages end in divorce. While statistics on percentages are regularly available, categorised reasons for divorce are less quanitifiable. Most divorces are filed resulting from ‘irreconcilable differences.’ This covers a broad spectrum for what could have been the root cause of the divorce, but what it really means is that the couple was ultimately unable to get along well enough to maintain their marriage. Another cause of divorce is adultery. It is estimated that over 25% of marriages in the U.S. end as a result of adultery. Other common causes arise from substance abuse, financial issues, physical, mental or emotional abuse, lack of commitment, etc. Needless to say, divorce may be caused by one specific issue or by several cumulative issues, but no matter the case, divorce may be filed by either party at any time.
Types: At Fault Divorce
There are usually two main types of divorce, fault based and no-fault based. In the United States, divorce does not demand that fault be placed on either partner. Should fault be placed on one individual, there must be a valid reason behind it as grounds or reason for the divorce. For example abandonment, desertion, or adultery. In many countries other than the U.S., fault or ‘grounds for divorce’ are still required. However, in the United States all states allow for no-fault divorce. Since the establishment of no fault statutes in the 1960s, fault based divorce has become far less common in our society.
However, upon the courts decisions on divorce settlements in no fault divorce proceedings, factors that could have contributed to the breakdown of the marriage are often taken into consideration. Factors like alcoholism, violence, abuse, drug use, cruelty, etc. This is particularly relevant in custody cases where a child’s well being may be put into jeopardy if custody could be granted to an unfit parent.
No fault divorce allows for divorce proceedings to be filed without proof of fault for either party. An allegation that a marriage has been destroyed by differences between the partners is typically enough for a divorce to be granted.
Simple and Uncontested Simple Divorce
A simple divorce, also known as a summary divorce, may be available in some jurisdictions. This type of divorce can be used if spouses meet certain requirements or are able to agree on important issues before divorce proceedings are filed. Eligibility requirements for this type of divorce are typically short marriages (typically those less than 5 years), no children, and lack of or minimal property and assets. These divorces are not available everywhere and are only available under certain stipulations.
An uncontested divorce occurs when there are no unresolved issues and a final judgment may be entered without a trial. That is, this type of divorce happens when both parties involved are able to come to an agreement on issues with property and children. These settlements can be reached with or without lawyers or mediators.
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