A divorce, sometimes called a dissolution of marriage, is the complete legal separation and division of a marriage. The process generally requires the authorization of a judge or some other legal permission based on different countries and their practices. Annulment is another term that can be used when referring to the breakdown of a marriage, however there is a difference. A nullity is when a marriage is declared null and void by a person of law; as in, the marriage was never real to begin with or was never legal.

Dissolution of the marriage is not allowed in some parts of the world, however, they generally allow an annulment to take place based on the circumstances. Usually it is never simple and clear; especially if there is a child involved and if there are valuable assets.

Some other legal procedures may follow, there may be a debate as to who is best suited to keep the child (if any), and as such who pays child support. With that also comes the question of who gets the car, the house, etc. There may also be an application for spousal support, more commonly known as alimony.

Before the 1970s, in most states, a couple could not obtain a dissolution of the marriage unless there were “reasons” and they had to provide proof. The party seeking divorce had to provide proof that the other party committed an act that broke a sacred vow; the most frequent cause was infidelity.

Since 1975, most states have adopted the “no fault” policy, this is where a couple can get the marriage dissolved, simply for the fact that they no longer want to marry each other. The reasons commonly used in these cases are incompatibility and irreconcilable differences.

The type of divorce most practiced today is the uncontested; This is where both parties involved can agree on the process of separation and division of assets, usually without the help of a lawyer or any type of advisor. Lawyers are sometimes used, but the goal is for each party to reach a reasonable agreement and be able to present it to the court. In this case, approval is generally assured. However, if the parties cannot agree, they can choose to have the court make decisions for them as to who gets the child or children and how the assets are divided.

Collaborative dissolution is also becoming popular and is very similar to uncontested, however the parties generally need attorneys to reach an agreement and there is usually a negotiation process, where each party’s attorney states why their client is the best person to keep any asset. It’s about who will get the kids among other things.

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