Decree Of Dissolution Of Marriage Definition Essay

For other uses, see Divorce (disambiguation).

Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, is the termination of a marriage or marital union, the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law of the particular country or state. Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, but in most countries divorce requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process, which may involve issues of alimony (spousal support), child custody, child visitation / access, parenting time, child support, distribution of property, and division of debt. In most countries, monogamy is required by law, so divorce allows each former partner to marry another person; where polygyny is legal but polyandry is not, divorce allows the woman to marry another person.

Divorce should not be confused with annulment, which declares the marriage null and void; with legal separation or de jure separation (a legal process by which a married couple may formalize a de factoseparation while remaining legally married) or with de facto separation (a process where the spouses informally stop cohabiting). Reasons for divorce vary, from sexual incompatibility or lack of independence for one or both spouses to a personality clash.[1]

The only countries that do not allow divorce are the Philippines, the Vatican City and the British Crown Dependency of Sark.[2] In the Philippines, divorce for non-Muslim Filipinos is not legal unless the husband or wife is an alien and satisfies certain conditions. [3]The Vatican City is an ecclesiastical state, which has no procedure for divorce. Countries that have relatively recently legalized divorce are Italy (1970), Portugal (1975), Brazil (1977), Spain (1981), Argentina (1987),[4]Paraguay (1991),[5]Colombia (1991*[5][6]), Andorra (1995),[7]Ireland (1996), Chile (2004)[8] and Malta (2011).

Overview[edit]

Grounds for divorce vary widely from country to country. Marriage may be seen as a contract, a status, or a combination of these.[9] Where it is seen as a contract, the refusal or inability of one spouse to perform the obligations stipulated in the contract may constitute a ground for divorce for the other spouse. In contrast, in some countries (such as Sweden,[10] Finland,[11] Australia,[12] New Zealand),[13] divorce is purely no fault. Many jurisdictions offer both the option of a no fault divorce as well as an at fault divorce. This is the case, for example, in many US states (see Grounds for divorce (United States)).

Though divorce laws vary between jurisdictions, there are two basic approaches to divorce: fault based and no-fault based. However, even in some jurisdictions that do not require a party to claim fault of their partner, a court may still take into account the behavior of the parties when dividing property, debts, evaluating custody, shared care arrangements and support. In some jurisdictions one spouse may be forced to pay the attorney's fees of another spouse.[14]

Laws vary as to the waiting period before a divorce is effective. Also, residency requirements vary. However, issues of division of property are typically determined by the law of the jurisdiction in which the property is located.[15]

In Europe, divorce laws differ from country to country, reflecting differing legal and cultural traditions. In some countries, particularly (but not only) in some former communist countries, divorce can be obtained only on one single general ground of "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage" (or a similar formulation). Yet, what constitutes such a "breakdown" of the marriage is interpreted very differently from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, ranging from very liberal interpretations (e.g. Netherlands)[16] to quite restrictive ones (e.g., in Poland, there must be an "irretrievable and complete disintegration of matrimonial life," but there are many restrictions to granting a divorce).[17][18] Separation constitutes a ground of divorce in some European countries (in Germany, e.g., a divorce is granted on the basis of a 1-year separation if both spouses consent, or 3-year separation if only one spouse consents).[19] Note that "separation" does not necessarily mean separate residences – in some jurisdictions, living in the same household but leading a separate life (e.g., eating, sleeping, socializing, etc. separately) is sufficient to constitute de facto separation; this is explicitly stated, e.g., in the family laws of Latvia.[20]

Divorce laws are not static; they often change reflecting evolving social norms of societies. In the 21st century, many European countries have made changes to their divorce laws, in particular by reducing the length of the necessary periods of separation, e.g., Scotland in 2006 (1 or 2 years from the previous 2 or 5 years); France in 2005 (2 years from the previous 6 years),[21]Switzerland in 2005 (2 years from the previous 4 years),[22]Greece in 2008 (two years from the previous four years).[23] Some countries have completely overhauled their divorce laws, such as Spain in 2005,[24] and Portugal in 2008. A new divorce law also came into force in September 2007 in Belgium, creating a new system that is primarily no-fault.[25]Bulgaria also modified its divorce regulations in 2009. Also in Italy, new laws came into force in 2014 and 2015 with significant changes in Italian law in matter of divorce: apart from shortening of the period of obligatory separation, are allowed other forms of getting a divorce – as an alternative to court proceedings, i.e. the negotiations with the participation of an advocate or agreement made before the registrar of Public Registry Office.[26]Austria, instead, is a European country where the divorce law still remains conservative.[27]

The liberalization of divorce laws is not without opposition, particularly in the United States. Indeed, in the US, certain conservative and religious organizations are lobbying for laws which restrict divorce. In 2011, in the US, the Coalition for Divorce Reform was established, describing itself as an organization "dedicated to supporting efforts to reduce unnecessary divorce and promote healthy marriages."[28]

Law[edit]

See also: Divorce law by country

Types[edit]

In some jurisdictions, the courts will seldom apply principles of fault, but might willingly hold a party liable for a breach of a fiduciary duty to his or her spouse (for example, see Family Code Sections 720 and 1100 of the California Family Code). Grounds for divorce differs from state to state in the U.S. Some states have no-fault divorce; some states require a declaration of fault on the part of one partner or both; some states allow either method.[29]

In most jurisdictions, a divorce must be certified (or ordered by a Judge) by a court of law to come into effect. The terms of the divorce are usually determined by the courts, though they may take into account prenuptial agreements or post-nuptial agreements, or simply ratify terms that the spouses may have agreed to privately (this is not true in the United States, where agreements related to the marriage typically have to be rendered in writing to be enforceable). In absence of agreement, a contested divorce may be stressful to the spouses.

In some other countries,[where?] when the spouses agree to divorce and to the terms of the divorce, it can be certified by a non-judiciary administrative entity. The effect of a divorce is that both parties are free to marry again if a filing in an appellate court does not overturn the decision.

Contested divorce[edit]

Contested divorces mean that one of several issues are required to be heard by a judge at trial level—this is more expensive, and the parties will have to pay for a lawyer's time and preparation. In such a divorce the spouses are not able to agree on issues for instance child custody and division of marital assets. In such situations, the litigation process takes longer to conclude.[30] The judge controls the outcome of the case.[31] Less adversarial approaches to divorce settlements have recently emerged, such as mediation and collaborative divorce settlement, which negotiate mutually acceptable resolution to conflicts. This principle in the United States is called 'Alternative Dispute Resolution' and has gained popularity.

At-fault divorce[edit]

Before the late 1960s, nearly all countries that permitted divorce required proof by one party that the other party had committed an act incompatible to the marriage. This was termed "grounds" for divorce (popularly called "fault") and was the only way to terminate a marriage. Most jurisdictions around the world still require such proof of fault. In the United States, no-fault divorce is available in all 50 states, as is the case with Australia, New Zealand, Canada and other Western countries.

Fault-based divorces can be contested; evaluation of offenses may involve allegations of collusion of the parties (working together to get the divorce), or condonation (approving the offense), connivance (tricking someone into committing an offense), or provocation by the other party. Contested fault divorces can be expensive, and not usually practical as eventually most divorces are granted. Comparative rectitude is a doctrine used to determine which spouse is more at fault when both spouses are guilty of breaches.[32]

The grounds for a divorce which a party could raise and need to prove included 'desertion,' 'abandonment,' 'cruelty,' or 'adultery.' The requirement of proving a ground was revised (and withdrawn) by the terms of 'no-fault' statutes, which became popular in many Western countries in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 'no-fault' jurisdictions divorce can be obtained either on a simple allegation of 'irreconcilable differences,' 'irretrievable break-down', or 'incompatibility' with respect to the marriage relationship, or on the ground of de facto separation.[33]

Summary divorce[edit]

A summary (or simple) divorce, available in some jurisdictions[which?], is used when spouses meet certain eligibility requirements or can agree on key issues beforehand.

Key factors:

  • Short duration of marriage (less than five years)
  • Absence of children (or, in some jurisdictions, prior allocation of child custody and of child-support direction and amount)
  • Absence or minimal value of real property at issue and any associated encumbrances such as mortgages
  • Absence of agreed-as-marital property above a given value threshold (around $35,000 not including vehicles)
  • Absence, with respect to each spouse, of claims to personal property above a given value threshold, typically the same as that for total marital property, with such claims including claims to exclusive previous ownership of property described by the other spouse as marital

No-fault divorce[edit]

Some Western jurisdictions have a no-fault divorce system, which requires no allegation or proof of fault of either party.[34] The barest of assertions suffice. For example, in countries that require "irretrievable breakdown", the mere assertion that the marriage has broken down will satisfy the judicial officer. In other jurisdictions requiring irreconcilable differences, the mere allegation that the marriage has been irreparable by these differences is enough for granting a divorce. Courts will not inquire into facts. A "yes" is enough, even if the other party vehemently says "no".

The application can be made by either party or by both parties jointly.

In jurisdictions adopting the 'no-fault' principle regarding whether to grant a divorce, some courts may still take into account the fault of the parties when determining some aspects of the content of the divorce decree, e.g., its terms for the division of property and debts and the existence and, if applicable, the amount of spousal support. Provisions related to child custody are determined using a different fundamental standard, that of the child's or children's best interests; while some behaviors that may constitute marital fault (e.g., violence, cruelty, endangerment, neglect, or substance abuse) may also qualify as factors to be considered when determining child custody, they do so for the independent reason that they provide evidence as to what arrangement is in the child's or children's best interests going forward.

Uncontested divorce[edit]

It is estimated that upwards of 95% of divorces in the U.S. are "uncontested",[35] because the two parties are able to come to an agreement (either with or without lawyers/mediators/collaborative counsel) about the property, children, and support issues. When the parties can agree and present the court with a fair and equitable agreement, approval of the divorce is almost guaranteed. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement, they may ask the court to decide how to split property and deal with the custody of their children. Though this may be necessary, the courts would prefer parties come to an agreement prior to entering court.

Where the issues are not complex and the parties are cooperative, a settlement often can be directly negotiated between them. In the majority of cases, forms are acquired from their respective state websites and a filing fee is paid to the state.[36] Most U.S. states charge between $175 and $350 for a simple divorce filing.[37][38][39]Collaborative divorce and mediated divorce are considered uncontested divorces.

Because of additional requirements that must be met, most military divorces are typically uncontested.

In the United States, many state court systems are experiencing an increasing proportion of pro se (i.e., litigants represent themselves without a lawyer) in divorce cases.[40] In San Diego, for example, the number of divorce filings involving at least one self-representing litigant rose from 46% in 1992 to 77% in 2000, and in Florida from 66% in 1999 to 73% in 2001. Urban courts in California report that approximately 80% of the new divorce filings are filed pro se.[41]

Collaborative divorce[edit]

Collaborative divorce is a method for divorcing couples to come to agreement on divorce issues. In a collaborative divorce, the parties negotiate an agreed resolution with the assistance of attorneys who are trained in the collaborative divorce process and in mediation and often with the assistance of a neutral financial specialist or divorce coaches. The parties are empowered to make their own decisions based on their own needs and interests, but with complete information and full professional support.

Once the collaborative divorce starts, the lawyers are disqualified from representing the parties in a contested legal proceeding, should the collaborative law process end prematurely. Most attorneys who practice collaborative divorce claim that it can be more cost-effective than other divorce methods, e.g., going to court.[42] Expense, they say, has to be looked at under the headings of financial and emotional. Also, the experience of working collaboratively tends to improve communication between the parties, particularly when collaborative coaches are involved, and the possibility of going back to court post-separation or divorce is minimized. In the course of the collaboration, should the parties not reach any agreements, any documents or information exchanged during the collaborative process cannot be used in court except by agreement between the parties.

Neither can any of the professional team retained in the course of the collaboration be brought to court. Essentially, they have the same protections as in mediation. There are two exceptions: 1) Any affidavit sworn in the course of the collaboration and vouching documentation attaching to same and 2) any interim agreement made and signed off in the course of the collaboration or correspondence relating thereto. The parties are in control of the time they are prepared to give their collaboration. Some people need a lot of time to complete, whereas others will reach solutions in a few meetings. Collaborative practitioners offer a tightly orchestrated model with meetings scheduled in advance every two weeks, and the range of items to be discussed apportioned in advance of signing up as well as the more open ended process, the clients decide.[citation needed]

Electronic divorce[edit]

Portugal, for example, allows two persons to file an electronic request for no-faultcollaborative divorce in a non judiciaryadministrativeentity. In specific cases, with no children, real property, alimony, or common address, can be completed within one hour.[citation needed][43]

Mediated divorce[edit]

Divorce mediation is an alternative to traditional divorce litigation. In a divorce mediation session, a mediator facilitates the discussion between the two parties by assisting with communication and providing information and suggestions to help resolve differences. At the end of the mediation process, the separating parties have typically developed a tailored divorce agreement that can be submitted to the court. Mediation sessions can include either party's attorneys, a neutral attorney, or an attorney-mediator who can inform both parties of their legal rights, but does not provide advice to either, or can be conducted with the assistance of a facilitative or transformative mediator without attorneys present at all. Some mediation companies, such as Wevorce, also pair clients with counselors, financial planners and other professionals to work through common mediation sticking points.[44] Divorce mediators may be attorneys who have experience in divorce cases, or they may be professional mediators who are not attorneys, but who have training specifically in the area of family court matters. Divorce mediation can be significantly less costly, both financially and emotionally, than litigation. The adherence rate to mediated agreements is much higher than that of adherence to court orders.[45] An article in the Jerusalem Post by Hadassah Fidler explained that mediated divorces have become a lot more popular, to the extent that some countries (such as Israel) have instituted a new law which will require divorcing couples to consider mediation before applying to court.[46]

Polygamy and divorce[edit]

Polygamy is a significant structural factor governing divorce in countries where this is permitted. Little-to-no analysis has been completed to explicitly explain the link between marital instability and polygamy which leads to divorce. The frequency of divorce rises in polygamous marriages compared to monogamous relationships. Within polygamous unions, differences in conjugal stability are found to occur by wife order. There are 3 main mechanisms through which polygamy affects divorce: economic restraint, sexual satisfaction, and childlessness. Many women escape economic restraint through divorcing their spouses when they are allowed to initiate a divorce.[47]

Causes[edit]

An annual study in the UK by management consultants Grant Thornton, estimates the main proximal causes of divorce based on surveys of matrimonial lawyers.[48]

The main causes in 2004 were:

According to this survey, husbands engaged in extramarital affairs in 75% of cases; wives in 25%. In cases of family strain, wives' families were the primary source of strain in 78%, compared to 22% of husbands' families. Emotional and physical abuse were more evenly split, with wives affected in 60% and husbands in 40% of cases. In 70% of workaholism-related divorces it was husbands who were the cause, and in 30%, wives. The 2004 survey found that 93% of divorce cases were petitioned by wives, very few of which were contested. 53% of divorces were of marriages that had lasted 10 to 15 years, with 40% ending after 5 to 10 years. The first 5 years are relatively divorce-free, and if a marriage survives more than 20 years it is unlikely to end in divorce.

Social scientists study the causes of divorce in terms of underlying factors that may possibly motivate divorce. One of these factors is the age at which a person gets married; delaying marriage may provide more opportunity or experience in choosing a compatible partner.[49][50] Wage, income, and sex ratios are other such underlying factors that have been included in analyses by sociologists and economists.[51][52]

The elevation of divorce rates among couples who cohabited prior to marriage is called the "cohabitation effect." Evidence suggests that although this correlation is partly due to two forms of selection (a) that persons whose moral or religious codes permit cohabitation are also more likely to consider divorce permitted by morality or religion and (b) that marriage based on low levels of commitment is more common among couples who cohabit than among couples who do not, such that the mean and median levels of commitment at the start of marriage are lower among cohabiting than among non-cohabiting couples), the cohabitation experience itself exerts at least some independent effect on the subsequent marital union.[53]

In 2010, a study by Jay Teachman published in Journal of Marriage and Family found that women who have cohabited or had premarital sex with men other than their husbands have an increased risk of divorce, and that this effect is strongest for women who have cohabited with multiple men prior to marriage. To Teachman, the fact that the elevated risk of divorce is only experienced when the premarital partner(s) is someone other than the husband indicates that premarital sex and cohabitation are now a normal part of the courtship process in the United States.[54] It is worth mentioning that the study only considers data on women in the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth in the United States.

Effects[edit]

Some of the effects associated with divorce include academic, behavioral, and psychological problems. Although this may not always be true, studies suggest that children from divorced families are more likely to exhibit such behavioral issues than those from non-divorced families.[55]

Divorce and relationships[edit]

Research done at Northern Illinois University on Family and Child Studies suggests that divorce of couples experiencing high conflict can have a positive effect on families by reducing conflict in the home. There are, however, many instances when the parent–child relationship may suffer due to divorce. Financial support is many times lost when an adult goes through a divorce. The adult may be obligated to obtain additional work to maintain financial stability. In turn, this can lead to a negative relationship between the parent and child; the relationship may suffer due to lack of attention towards the child as well as minimal parental supervision[55]

Studies have also shown that parental skills decrease after a divorce occurs; however, this effect is only a temporary change. "A number of researchers have shown that a disequilibrium, including diminished parenting skills, occurs in the year following the divorce but that by two years after the divorce re-stabilization has occurred and parenting skills have improved"[56]

Some couples choose divorce even when one spouse's desire to remain married is greater than the other spouse's desire to obtain a divorce. In economics this is known as the Zelder Paradox, and is more common with marriages that have produced children, and less common with childless couples.[57]

In an American Psychological Association study of parents' relocation after a divorce, researchers found that a move has a long-term effect on children. In the first study conducted amongst 2,000 college students on the effects of parental relocation relating to their children's well-being after divorce, researchers found major differences. In divorced families in which one parent moved, the students received less financial support from their parents compared with divorced families in which neither parent moved. These findings also imply other negative outcomes for these students, such as more distress related to the divorce and did not feel a sense of emotional support from their parents. Although the data suggests negative outcomes for these students whose parents relocate after divorce, there is insufficient research that can alone prove the overall well-being of the child[58] A newer study in the Journal of Family Psychology found that parents who move more than an hour away from their children after a divorce are much less well off than those parents who stayed in the same location[59]

Effects on children[edit]

Psychological[edit]

Divorce is associated with diminished psychological well-being in children and adult offspring of divorced parents, including greater unhappiness, less satisfaction with life, weaker sense of personal control, anxiety, depression, and greater use of mental health services. A preponderance of evidence indicates that there is a causal effect between divorce and these outcomes.[60]

A study in Sweden led by the Centre for Health Equity Studies (Chess) at Stockholm University/Karolinska Institutet, is published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that children living with just one parent after divorce suffer from more problems such as headaches, stomach aches, feelings of tension and sadness than those whose parents share custody.[61]

Children of divorced parents are also more likely to experience conflict in their own marriages, and are more likely to experience divorce themselves. They are also more likely to be involved in short-term cohabiting relationships, which often dissolve before marriage.[60] There are many studies that show proof of an intergenerational transmission of divorce, but this does not mean that having divorced parents will absolutely lead a child to divorce. There are two key factors that make this transmission of divorce more likely. First, inherited biological tendencies or genetic conditions may predispose a child to divorce as well as the "model of marriage" presented by the child's parents.[62]

According to Nicholas Wall, former President of the Family Division of the English High Court, "People think that post-separation parenting is easy – in fact, it is exceedingly difficult, and as a rule of thumb my experience is that the more intelligent the parent, the more intractable the dispute. There is nothing worse, for most children, than for their parents to denigrate each other. Parents simply do not realize the damage they do to their children by the battles they wage over them. Separating parents rarely behave reasonably, although they always believe that they are doing so, and that the other party is behaving unreasonably."[63]

Although not the intention of most parents, putting children in the middle of conflict is particularly detrimental. Examples of this are asking children to carry messages between parents, grilling children about the other parent's activities, and putting the other parent down in front of the children. Children involved in high-conflict divorce or custody cases can experience varying forms of parental alienation, which courts often consider to be a form of child abuse.[citation needed] Specific examples of parental alienation include brainwashing the child to cease their relationship with the other parent, telling the child that the other parent does not love them, teaching the child to call another adult by a parental name in effort to replace the other parent, limiting communication between the child and the other parent, and limiting quality time between the child and the other parent. If evidence reveals that a parent is actively alienating the child from their other parent, their case for custody can be severely damaged.[64]

Poorly managed conflict between parents increases children's risk of behavior problems, depression, substance abuse and dependence, poor social skills, and poor academic performance. Fortunately, there are approaches by which divorce professionals can help parents reduce conflict. Options include mediation, collaborative divorce, coparent counseling, and parenting coordination.[65]

Children of divorced parents are also more likely to experience conflict in their own marriages, and are more likely to experience divorce themselves. They are also more likely to be involved in short-term cohabiting relationships, which often dissolve before marriage.[60] There are many studies that show proof of an intergenerational transmission of divorce, but this does not mean that having divorced parents will absolutely lead a child to divorce. There are two key factors that make this transmission of divorce more likely. First, inherited biological tendencies or genetic conditions may predispose a child to divorce as well as the "model of marriage" presented by the child's parents.[66]

Children begin to be affected 2–4 years before the separation or divorce even occurs. This time period before the separation tends to be more detrimental for the children than the actual divorce or separation. This can be due to parental conflict and anticipation of a divorce, and decreased parental contact. Many couples believe that by separating, or becoming legally divorced that they are helping their children, and in situations of extreme parental conflict of abuse it most likely will be beneficial.[67]

Exposure to marital conflict and instability, most often has negative consequences for children. Several mechanisms are likely to be responsible. First, observing overt conflict between parents is a direct stressor for children.[68][69] Observational studies reveal that children react to inter-parental conflict with fear, anger, or the inhibition of normal behavior. Preschool children – who tend to be egocentric – may blame themselves for marital conflict, resulting in feelings of guilt and lowered self-esteem. Conflict between parents also tends to spill over and negatively affect the quality of parents' interactions with their children. Researchers found that the associations between marital conflict and children's externalizing and internalizing problems were largely mediated by parents' use of harsh punishment and parent–child conflict. Furthermore, modeling verbal or physical aggression, parents "teach" their children that disagreements are resolved through conflict rather than calm discussion. As a result, children may not learn the social skills (such as the ability to negotiate and reach compromises) that are necessary to form mutually rewarding relationships with peers.[70]

Girls and boys deal with divorce differently, for instance girls who initially show signs of adapting well, later suffer from anxiety in romantic relationships with men. Studies also showed that girls who were separated from their fathers at a younger age tended to be more angry toward the situation as they aged, anger and sadness were also observed at common feeling in adolescents who had experienced parental divorce.[71]

Children are dependent of their parents from before day one. In the womb they expect the mother to nourish them. It is their only will to survive. When they are born, it is their parents responsibility to take care of their every need as they grow up. They are seen as sort of "super heroes" to the extant that "their parents should be able to work through and solve any issue.[…] and divorce shatters this basic safety and belief concerning the parents’ abilities to care for them and to make decisions that truly consider their well being." license counselor and therapist Steven Earll states very simply.[72]

The way that children are affected by divorce can vary in many different ways. For instance if the child in question is below the age of three years old, they most likely will not even know what is going on or why their parents are no longer together.[73] They will grow up with the familiarity of their separated parents and also they would probably not be as exposed if at all to the said parents arguing that could have happened before the divorce happened. Through all of this gender plays roles in each age group differently. It is shown that through each age group males were often more effected and at a more consistent rate than females with the exception of the teenage years where females are far more emotional and expectant of throwing tantrum like behaviors more than males.[74]

If the child is around pre-school age and goes through this event with their parents, lets say around the ages of three to six, then the way they think is very self-involved. Their way of thinking is all about "me" and will remain that way until they hit around seven. Because of this way of thinking, they are at the most risk of thinking that they are at fault with their own parents splitting up. They are the most vulnerable age and are usually the most negatively effected. They have most likely never seen a functional relationship from their parents so they will grow up with a sort of distorted image of what a marriage should be like unless the parents are remarried in to a successful marriage.[75]

At this age is when the gender takes a role. When boys are in this situation, they will most likely still have a strong relationship with both parents. But if it is a girl in the situation, they will most likely grow up with more anger and regret towards the parent who's "fault" it is. When typically this aggression is towards the father, this could lead to difficult relationships with men in the future. As well as many different trust issues depending on the reasoning behind the divorce. Infidelity being the top reason here in the United States. Taking from personal experiences, there can be longer lasting effects in what the emotional damage can do to a child who has experienced an unhealthy relationship and a divorce.[76]

At the age of six to about the age of twelve is when more physiological effects take place. As well as when school becomes more difficult to focus on. When there is more of an emotional toll if you will. With school in session, children may bottle up their feelings and not be as talkative or act like their normal selves. During this age, it is very important to understand how to talk to your child who is going through this. With all of the stress as well as schooling it could all become very overwhelming. You may see the grades of the child start to slip. If this happens it is a sign that the child is distracted. This is a good indicator as to what the child may be thinking or feeling.

As we get into the higher ages more matters factor in. At the age of thirteen to about seventeen is when you must factor in the hormone levels coming from puberty. This could be pretty overwhelming for someone who feels as if their whole life is turning upside down anyway. Being a teenager is hard enough as it is and when you are going through puberty on top of a divorce it can feel like the end of the world. As for males, they always seem that they have less of an emotional toll from this situation. Although this is more of when males have more resentment towards their fathers. They often see them as the cause of the situation. This is because they are very attached to their mother and to see their mother go through something this emotionally straining can take a toll on them. They often act out their aggression since their hormones are also off the wall due to puberty they do not know how to channel their own aggression in a healthy way.[77]

Ages eighteen and up are more of the miscellaneous group. This is when they can actually see the situation for what it really is. They understand that sometimes adults get married for the wrong reasons and they see that sometimes things just do not work out for the best. This is when everything comes in to focus and the parents can talk to their children like adults and know that they will understand and not be as hurt. Males and females often behave the same in this age group because they are understanding adults. That they shouldn’t expect their children to fully understand the whole situation and the degree that it is under. Their whole universe revolves around them.[78]

As well as this all is just statistics, everything is varying to different factors such as how bad the moments are leading up to the divorce of the two parents, how the two parents focus on the kids during the separation process, and finally how strong the relationship between the children and parents were. Taking into account these factors, this can help figure out the effects it may have on your child.[79]

Academic and socioeconomic[edit]

Frequently, children who have experienced a divorce have lower academic achievement than children from non-divorced families[80] In a review of family and school factors related to adolescents' academic performance, it noted that a child from a divorced family is two times more likely to drop out of high school than a child from a non-divorced family. These children from divorced families may also be less likely to attend college, resulting in the discontinuation of their academic career.[81]

Many times academic problems are associated with those children from single-parent families. Studies have shown that this issue may be directly related to the economical influence of divorce. A divorce may result in the parent and children moving to an area with a higher poverty rate and a poor education system all due to the financial struggles of a single parent.[82]

Children of divorced parents also achieve lower levels of socioeconomic status, income, and wealth accumulation than children of continuously married parents. These outcomes are associated with lower educational achievement.[60]

Young men or women between the ages of 7 and 16 who had experienced the divorce of their parents were more likely than youths who had not experienced the divorce of their parents to leave home because of friction, to cohabit before marriage, and to parent a child before marriage.[83]

Divorce often leads to worsened academic achievement in children ages 7–12, the most heightened negative effect being reading test scores. These negative effects tend to persist, and even escalate after the divorce or separation occurs.[67]

Children of divorced or separated parents exhibit increased behavioral problems and the marital conflict that accompanies parents’ divorce places the child's social competence at risk.[84]

Divorce of elderly couples[edit]

Since the mid-1990s, the divorce rate has increased to over 50% among baby boomers. More and more seniors are staying single; an analysis of census data conducted at Bowling Green State University predicted that divorce numbers will continue to rise. Baby boomers that remain unmarried are five times more likely to live in poverty compared to those who are married. They are also three times as likely to receive food stamps, public assistance or disability payments.[85]

Sociologists believe that the rise in the number of older Americans who are not married is a result of factors such as longevity and economics. Women, especially, are becoming more and more financially independent which allows them to feel more secure with being alone, in addition to changing perceptions of being divorced or single. This has resulted in less pressure for baby boomers to marry or stay married.[85]

Statistics[edit]

Further information: Divorce demography

Asia[edit]

Japan[edit]

In Japan, divorces were on a generally upward trend from the 1960s until 2002 when they hit a peak of 290,000. Since then, both the number of divorces and the divorce rate have declined for six years straight. In 2010, the number of divorces totalled 251,000, and the divorce rate was 1.99 (per 1,000 population).[86]

India[edit]

The Hindu Marriage Act is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted in 1955. Three other important acts were also enacted as part of the Hindu Code Bills during this time: the Hindu Succession Act (1956), the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act (1956), the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (1956). DIVORCE UNDER VARIOUS ACTS IN INDIA The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 The dissolution of Muslim Marriage act, 1939 The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936 The Special Marriage Act, 1956 The Foreign Marriage Act, 1969 Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, 1939 The Dissolution of Marriage and Judicial separation (under the Indian Divorce Act, 1869)

Due to the existence of diverse religious faiths in India, the Indian Judiciary has implemented laws separately for couples belonging to different religious beliefs. Mutual consent divorce procedure [87] is relatively easier and fast while contested divorce procedure [88] takes longer and depends on the religions of the couples.

Taiwan[edit]

In 2015, there were 53,448 divorces, in which 33% for less than 5 years of marriage and 20.8% for 5–9 years of marriage. The figure represents a 17.1% decline in the number when divorce rate peaked in 2006.[89]

Europe[edit]

One study estimated that legal reforms accounted for about 20% of the increase in divorce rates in Europe between 1960 and 2002.[90][citation needed]

The ten places with the highest divorce rates in the UK are all beside the sea, with Blackpool in the top position.[91]

North America[edit]

United States[edit]

Main article: Divorce in the United States

On average, first marriages that end in divorce last about eight years.[92] Of the first marriages for women from 1955 to 1959, about 79% marked their 15th anniversary, compared with only 57% for women who married for the first time from 1985 to 1989.[92] The median time between divorce and a second marriage was about three and a half years.[92]

In 2000, the divorce rate reached its peak at 40%; since then it has slowly declined, and by 2014 it had settled in at 32%.[93][94]

A 1995 study found a wide range of factors correlating with the divorce rate including frequency of sex, wealth, race, and religious commitment.[95][clarification needed]

In 2001, marriages between people of different faiths were three times more likely to be divorced than those of the same faith. In a 1993 study, members of two mainline Protestant religions had a 20% chance of being divorced in 5 years; a Catholic and an Evangelical, a 33% chance; a Jew and a Christian, a 40% chance.[96]

A study[97] by the Christian poll group the Barna Group,[98] reports that a higher divorce rate was associated with infrequent church attendance.

Success in marriage has been associated with higher education and higher age. 81% of college graduates, over 26 years of age, who wed in the 1980s, were still married 20 years later. 65% of college graduates under 26, who married in the 1980s, were still married 20 years later. 49% of high school graduates under 26 years old, who married in the 1980s, were still married 20 years later.[99] 2.9% of adults age 35–39 without a college degree divorced in the year 2009, compared with 1.6% with a college education.[100] A population study found that in 2004 and 2008, liberal-voting states have lower rates of divorce than conservative-voting states, possibly because people in liberal states tend to wait longer before getting married.[49] An analysis of this study found it to be misleading due to sampling at an aggregate level. It revealed that when sampling the same data by individuals, Republican-leaning voters are less likely to have a divorce or extramarital affair than Democratic-leaning voters and independents.[101][102]

The National Center for Health Statistics reports that from 1975 to 1988 in the U.S., in families with children present, wives file for divorce in approximately two-thirds of cases. In 1975, 71.4% of the cases were filed by women, and in 1988, 65% were filed by women.[103] It is estimated that upwards of 95% of divorces in the U.S. are "uncontested", because the two parties are able to come to an agreement without a hearing (either with or without lawyers/mediators/collaborative counsel) about the property, children, and support issues.

A 2011 study found a 1% increase in the unemployment rate correlated with a 1% decrease in the divorce rate,[104] presumably because more people were financially challenged to afford the legal proceedings.

Oceania[edit]

In Australia, nearly every third marriage ends in divorce. After reaching a peak divorce rate of 2.7 per 1000 residents in 2001, the Australian rate declined to 2.3 per 1000 in 2007.[105]

In same-sex married couples (United States)[edit]

All states permit same-sex marriage. For same-sex couples in the United States, divorce law is in its infancy.

Rights of spouses to custody of children[edit]

Upon dissolution of a same-sex marriage, legal questions remain as to the rights of spouses to custody of the biological children of their spouses.[106] Unresolved legal questions abound in this area.[107]

Child custody policies include several guidelines that determine with whom the child lives following divorce, how time is divided in joint custody situations, and visitation rights. The most frequently applied custody guideline is the best interests of the child standard, which takes into account the parents' preferences, the child's preferences, the interactions between parents and children, children's adjustment, and all family members' mental and physical health.[108]

Religion and divorce[

"Just Divorced!" hand-written on an automobile's rear window.

The term dissolution of marriage refers to the ending of a marriage through legal proceedings, the same as divorce. In many jurisdictions, a couple may file a petition for the court to terminate their marriage pursuant to a written agreement between the parties. Such an agreement must cover all issues pertaining to the dissolution, allowing the matter to be concluded without a hearing or trial. To explore this concept, consider the following dissolution of marriage definition.

Definition of Dissolution of Marriage

Noun

  1. A modern, more temperate sounding term for divorce.
  2. A term for divorce that is symbolic of a non-confrontational, no-fault approach to terminating a marriage.

Origin

1970s   California family law

Dissolution of Marriage vs. Divorce

In most jurisdictions, divorce and dissolution of marriage are the same thing, each requiring the same legal proceedings to finalize. The proceedings may be adversarial, or the parties may work together to come to an agreement regarding all issues of distribution of marital assets, and payment of spousal support, as well as child custody and child support, if applicable.

If an agreement is reached, it is documented in a Marital Settlement Agreement, and presented to the court for approval and a final divorce order or decree. Any issues not settled between the parties may continue to trial, during which both parties will present argument, testimony, and other evidence to make their case. Leaving these things for the court to decide is a more expensive avenue for most litigants.

What is Dissolution of Marriage by Marital Settlement Agreement

The process of obtaining a dissolution of marriage by Marital Settlement Agreement is easier, faster, and less expensive for the parties. Without the need for the parties to engage in discovery, prove what each owned prior to the marriage, argue about how the marital assets should be divided, and argue over the care and custody of their children, getting a divorce without an attorney becomes a possibility for many people, especially in jurisdictions that offer the help of a family law facilitator.

Coming to an agreement on issues related to dissolution of marriage means less emotional conflict and stress for all parties, including children and extended family. Submitting a Marital Settlement Agreement to the court also eliminates the stress of not knowing what the judge will order regarding the final divorce. Many couples find that giving up a few things in order to meet in the middle for such an agreement is well worth it, in that the divorce can usually be finalized much more quickly, and they can get on with their lives.

Filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

Each state has specific requirements that must be met before filing for dissolution of marriage or divorce. These include residency requirements that the couple has resided in the state for a specified minimum period of time. The time varies by jurisdiction, often between 6 months and 1 year. Some states require the couple be officially separated for a minimum period of time before filing, yet others allow filing, but require a minimum separation time before the final divorce decree may be issued.

A petition for dissolution of marriage or divorce must be filed with the family court in the county where the couple has established residency, then served on the opposing party in person. This may be done by process server, sheriff, constable, or any adult person who is not a party to the divorce. These documents, as well as other documents needed in a dissolution proceeding, such as child custody documents, are available at the court clerk’s office for individuals filing for dissolution of marriage without the assistance of an attorney.

Once the petition for dissolution of marriage has been served, the other party, the “respondent,” must file an answer with the court. Following this, the parties may submit a Marital Settlement Agreement with the court. If these documents satisfy the judge as to the equitable distribution of marital assets, and that the best interests of the children are being met, the agreement will become the order of the court, and the marriage will be terminated on a specified date. If the parties are unable to agree, the matter will proceed to trial.

No-Fault Dissolution of Marriage or Divorce

In many states, couples may file a “no-fault” divorce or dissolution of marriage, in which they state they have separated by agreement, and neither is claiming the other is at fault for the failed relationship. In some states, including California, no-fault divorce is the only option, individuals being able to choose only between “irreconcilable differences” and “incurable insanity” as the reasons for the dissolution.

In a “fault” divorce, one spouse claims some wrongdoing of the other spouse caused the breakup, and this may entitle the wronged spouse to a greater share of the marital assets. In a “no-fault” divorce, the assets are divided equally with no regard for the reason behind the divorce. To prove fault in a divorce, the wronged spouse must prove an issue such as:

  • Adultery
  • Emotional or physical abuse
  • Failure to help support the family
  • Continued absence from the family home for one year or longer
  • Habitual drug or alcohol use

In states that allow fault divorces, the couple is not usually required to endure a minimum separation period before the divorce will be granted.

Going From Dissolution by Agreement to Contested Divorce

Even if a couple initially files for dissolution of marriage with the intent of coming to an agreement, issues may arise that cannot be amicably resolved. There is no extra step required to “convert” the case to a contested divorce, as the act of engaging in discovery, the filing of additional actions, such as motions, and requesting hearings or a trial automatically render the case a contested divorce or dissolution. At any point prior to a trial, the couple may still decide to agree and submit a Marital Settlement Agreement.

What is a Certificate of Dissolution of Marriage

In many states, the finalization of a dissolution of marriage or divorce ends with a decree or order for dissolution of marriage. Some states refer to this final court order as a certificate of dissolution of marriage, rather than a divorce decree. In either case, the certificate, decree, or order details the issues of marital property distribution, as well as the exact date the dissolution or divorce takes effect. This information contained in the certificate of dissolution of marriage is vital to many post-divorce activities, such as changing names on bank accounts, updating the beneficiaries of retirement accounts and life insurance, and dealing with other issues.

Related Legal Terms and Issues

  • Petitioner – The individual who initiates legal proceedings by filing a petition, also referred to as “plaintiff” in some cases.
  • Respondent – The individual against whom a petition is filed, also referred to as “defendant” in some cases.
  • Hearing – A proceeding before the court at which an issue of fact or law is heard, evidence presented, and a decision made.
  • Discovery – The pre-trial efforts of each party to obtain information and evidence.
  • Marital Assets – All property, financial assets, and debt acquired by the couple during the course of the marriage, regardless of who holds title to it.
  • Jurisdiction – The legal authority to hear legal cases and make judgments; the geographical region of authority to enforce justice.

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