Divorce (Dissolution of Marriage)
Divorce is the most well-known area of family law. It involves the legal dissolution of a marriage, which terminates the bonds of matrimony and enables each former spouse to marry another person in the future. Because a marriage may involve children, the financial support of one spouse by another and the combining of property, there are specific issues that must be resolved in order for a divorce to be finalized. This may include child support, child custody and visitation (if children are involved), asset and debt division and spousal support. These matters have the potential to be legally complex and emotionally challenging for all parties.
The Different Types of Divorce
Each state has its own specific laws pertaining to divorce, and the manner in which you approach your case and the laws that apply will therefore vary. We have highlighted a few of the primary types of divorce in the U.S.:
A no-fault divorce is a termination of marriage that requires no fault or wrongdoing on the part of either spouse. For example, "irreconcilable differences" may be cited as the reason to end a marriage in states where no-fault divorce is accepted.
An at-fault divorce requires that one spouse allege wrongdoing on the part of another spouse as "grounds" for a divorce. Prior to the 1960s, nearly all areas of the U.S. that permitted divorce required the establishment of grounds to file. Adultery, abuse, imprisonment and abandonment are examples of grounds for an at-fault divorce.
An uncontested divorce is the simplest and most straightforward form of divorce. It involves a situation where spouses are able to reach their own agreements regarding custody, support and property without the involvement of the court.
When spouses are unable to reach agreements regarding custody, property and support through negotiation or mediation, they may require court intervention. A contested divorce involves the intervention of the court to rule upon such matters as child custody, property division, spousal support or child support. This method of divorce may be costly and time consuming.
A relatively new concept, collaborative divorce involves spouses who agree to work with one another through negotiation or mediation in order to resolve any disagreements related to their divorce. A collaborative approach to divorce may enable spouses to reach a swifter resolution and to save a great deal of time and money.
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