A Divorce is the termination of a marriage by legal action, requiring a petition or complaint for divorce (or dissolution in some states) by one party. There are two types of divorce: fault and no-fault. A fault divorce, also called a "divorce a vinculo matrimonii," is a judicial termination of a marriage based on marital misconduct or other statutory cause requiring proof in a court of law by the divorcing party that the divorcee had done one of several enumerated things as sufficient grounds for the divorce. Some states still require at least a minimal showing of fault, but no-fault divorce is now common. Usually, a no-fault divorce is referred to as a separation decree; the right to cohabitation is terminated but the marriage is undissolved and the status of the parties is not altered.
State law governs divorces, so the petitioning or complaining party can only file in the state in which he/she is and has been a resident for a certain period of time, which varies by state. The most common issues in divorces are division of property, child custody and support, alimony (spousal support), child visitation and attorney's fees. Only state courts have jurisdiction over divorces, so the petitioning or complaining party can only file in the state in which he/she is and has been a resident for a period of time. In most states, the legal process of the divorce procedures take some time, to allow for a chance of reconciliation.
<< Back to Areas of Law