How Divorce Law Works in the United States

We all want someone to share our love, laughter, and be with them happily ever after. Sadly though, those types of endings can better be seen in the movies than in reality. A promise once made between a man and a woman so madly in love is one day expected to end up broken and shattered just as if it never existed in the first place. The truth may sound harsh, but denying it won’t change the facts. In a modern society where people think only of themselves, it’s hard to expect a happy marriage. Studies have shown that 40-50% of all first marriages will most likely lead to divorce. And that data is only getting even worse as the years pass by. In the United States alone, divorce has been very rampant. Still, there are times when a couple decides to try harder than just end it all. If a couple decides to call it quits, they may do so, but not right away.

What is divorce, anyway? In layman’s term, it is a discontinuation of marriage. But, that’s only the tip of the iceberg—there’s more to it than just that. Couples have to follow certain legal procedures. For example, there are certain conditions that need to be met before applying for divorce in court. One of them has to be a resident of the state for at least six months before filing for divorce, and they don’t have to get divorced in the state where they got married. There are also cases where the state requires separation from one’s mate for a specified amount of time, with the goal that both may have a change of heart and consider reuniting instead. In the worst-case scenario, if they push through the decision, the divorce court will first ask the couple to work on certain matters. Such matters include alimony or spousal support, who’s going to do it and for how long he/she is obliged to do it. It also entails what each get if ever the divorce is granted. Who will provide child support? Who will take custody of the children? The court will ensure that the couple adheres to the law as this will also make the process faster and less expensive.

When they have gone through the initial step, it is still up to them whether to continue the process. There are cases when divorce is contested, which means one party is still holding on; and there’s this most common case where the divorce is uncontested, which is the direct opposite of the first one. The latter is usually the easiest and fastest way that a divorce can be granted. After a divorce is obtained, a judicial decree will then be given declaring that the marriage is officially dissolved. Since both parties are now legally divorced, they are now free to remarry but depending on the state, some can be given time restrictions. 

Divorce laws in the United States may temporarily ease legal and financial issues, but it should be noted that it cannot erase the permanent effects of shame, guilt, resentment, and frustration that an individual may experience after it. The divorce lawyer cannot help with those feelings. Although there are these risks, some still resort to this option because of so-called ‘legal grounds’ such as abuse, domestic violence, infidelity, or addiction to drugs, alcohol and even pornography. Divorced parents, marrying at a very young age, lack of income, premarital pregnancy, limited education and income, and many more are some of the pitfalls that have led many into divorce.