State Divorce Laws
There has been a lot of talk in the news recently about what constitutes a traditional marriage. These discussions usually include advocacy for saving marriages. The harsh reality is that in American over 40% of all marriages end in divorce. The percentage of divorces actually increases the longer the marriage lasts. Couples married for 15 years are more likely to divorce than couples married just five years.
There was time when obtaining a divorce as a very difficult and a time consuming process. For many people, this meant a six week vacation to Nevada where they could establish residency and then file for a divorce. Today, Nevada still ranks as number one when it comes to the highest number of divorces. The top five divorce states that round out the highest divorce rate are Arkansas, Alabama, Wyoming and Idaho.
If you or someone you know is considering a divorce, it's important you get information about your state's divorces laws. The more you know, the easier the process will become.
Grounds for Divorce
Each state has set their own set of divorce laws. The primary function of these laws is to determine the grounds for divorce. Just like anyone who wants to get married needs to get a state license, anyone who wants to get divorced needs to be legally granted that decree by the courts.
Many states have adopted a no-fault divorce policy. This essentially means that both spouses have agreed that the marriage is broken and simply can't be fixed. On the other hand, if only one spouse petitions the court for a divorce, they will need to prove those grounds as defined by the state. Some of those reasons can include cheating, mental or physical abuse, or abandonment.
Distribution of Property in Divorces
Just because a couple is in agreement over their marriage failing doesn't mean they'll be in agreement over who gets what. Some states like California are community property states. This means that every asset that was acquired during the marriage is to be equally distributed between the spouses. There's not a lot of give and take with community property laws.
The other type of distribution is called equitable distribution. This is where a judge will determine how the marital assets are divided based on many factors including the length of the marriage and hardship concerns.
For many divorced couples, alimony payments are a sore spot. These are also determined by a judge based on the economic conditions of each spouse and their ability to support themselves.
Child Custody and Support
The most important factor in any divorce case is the well-being of the children involved in the matter. Who will have custody and who will be financially responsible for support is part of an official court ruling that must be adhered to by both sides.
Typically, a family court judge will conduct interviews with the children and base their rulings on what the child wants versus what the parents want. After a period of time, courts allow the issue of custody and support to be reviewed and adjusted accordingly.