Divorce or the dissolution of marriage is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties. In most countries divorce requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process. The legal process for divorce may also involve issues consisting of:
- Spousal Support
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Distribution of Property
- Division of Debt
Though divorce laws vary between jurisdiction, 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, and support.
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.
Under a no-fault divorce system, the dissolution of a marriage does not require an allegation or proof of fault of either party. This can be made by either party or by both parties jointly
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.
An uncontested divorce is available where all parties agree to all aspects of the dissolution of the marriage and all key issues are agreed to before any divorce action is filed.