What is a Divorce?

Divorce is dissolution of a valid marriage before the death of either spouse. It can be contrasted with annulment, which is a declaration that a marriage is void. A divorce must be certified by a court of law, as a legal action is needed to dissolve the prior legal act of marriage. The terms of the divorce are also determined by the court, though they may take into account prenuptial agreements or postnuptial agreements, or simply ratify terms that the spouses have agreed on privately. Often, however, the spouses disagree about the terms of the divorce, which can lead to stressful (and expensive) litigation. A less adversarial approach to divorce settlements has emerged in recent years, known as mediation, an attempt to negotiate mutually acceptable resolution to conflicts.

No Fault Divorce

Under Michigan's no-fault divorce system, a marriage partner does not need to show that the other marriage partner did or was at fault to obtain a divorce. The only ground for divorce in Michigan is the no-fault ground, i.e., "there has been a breakdown of the marriage relationship to the extent that the objects of matrimony have been destroyed and there remains no reasonable likelihood that the marriage can be preserved" MCL 552.6(1). Although proof of fault is not necessary to obtain a divorce, fault can be relevant in deciding custody, parenting time, property and debt division, and spousal support.

In many developed countries, divorce rates increased markedly during the twentieth century. Among the nations in which divorce has become commonplace are the United States, South Korea, and members of the European Union (with the exception of Malta, where all civil marriages are for life, because civil divorce is banned).

In the USA, Canada, the United Kingdom, and some other developed Commonwealth countries, this divorce boom developed in the last half of the twentieth century. In addition, acceptance of the single-parent family has resulted in many women deciding to have children outside marriage, as there is little remaining social stigma attached to unwed mothers in some societies. Japan retains a markedly lower divorce rate, though it has increased in recent years. The subject of divorce as a social phenomenon is an important research topic in sociology. In fact, the statistics of a survey conducted by Citibank on divorce in the United States suggested that more than fifty percent of divorced couples cited money problems as the cause of their divorce.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Divorce".  

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