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Divorce Law Overview and Information
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. An fault divorce, is a judicial termination of a marriage based on marital misconduct or other statutory cause requiring proof in a court of law by the filing party that the other spouse committed one or more acts defined by state statute as grounds for a divorce. Some states still require at least a minimal showing of fault, but no-fault divorce is now common.
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. Residency requirements vary by state. In most states, the legal process of the divorce procedures includes a waiting period, to allow for a chance of reconciliation.
The complexities of issues involved, such as property division and taxes, may make it advisable for both parties to have expert legal and financial advice. Attorneys who practice in this area assist clients with issues of divorce, dissolution, or legal separation. They also typically handle related matters involving prenuptial agreements, spousal restraining orders and issues of child custody and support.