Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, but in most countries, divorce requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process, which may involve issues of distribution of property, child custody, alimony (spousal support), child visitation / access, parenting time, child support, and division of debt. In most countries, monogamy is required by law, so divorce allows each former partner to marry another person.
Divorce is different from annulment, which declares the marriage null and void, with legal separation or de jure separation (a legal process by which a married couple may formalize a de facto separation while remaining legally married) or with de facto separation (a process where the spouses informally stop cohabiting). Reasons for divorce vary, from sexual incompatibility or lack of independence for one or both spouses to a personality clash or infidelity.
The only countries that do not allow divorce are the Philippines and the Vatican City. In the Philippines, divorce for non-Muslim Filipinos is not legal unless the husband or wife is an undocumented immigrant and satisfies certain conditions. The Vatican City is a state ruled by the head of the Catholic Church, a religion that does not allow for divorce. Countries that have relatively recently legalized divorce are Italy (1970), Portugal (1975, although from 1910 to 1940 it was possible both for the civil and religious marriage), Brazil (1977), Spain (1981), Argentina (1987), Paraguay (1991), Colombia (1991; from 1976 was allowed only for non-Catholics), Andorra (1995), Ireland (1996), Chile (2004) and Malta (2011).
Grounds for divorce vary widely from country to country. Marriage may be seen as a contract, a status, or a combination of these. Where it is seen as a contract, the refusal or inability of one spouse to perform the obligations stipulated in the contract may constitute a ground for divorce for the other spouse. In contrast, in some countries (such as Sweden, Finland, Australia, New Zealand), divorce is purely no fault. This means it does not matter what the reasons are that a party or parties want to separate. They can separate of their own free will without having to prove someone is at fault for the divorce. Many jurisdictions offer both the option of a no fault divorce as well as an at fault divorce. This is the case, for example, in many states of the US, France and the Czech Republic.
Though divorce laws vary between jurisdictions, 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, shared care arrangements and support. In some jurisdictions, one spouse may be forced to pay the attorney's fees of another spouse.
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.
In some jurisdictions, the courts will seldom apply principles of fault, but might willingly hold a party liable for a breach of a fiduciary duty to his or her spouse. Grounds for divorce differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction in the worldwide. Some states have no-fault divorce; some states require a declaration of fault on the part of one partner or both; some states allow either method.
In most jurisdictions, a divorce must be certified or ordered by a Judge in a court of law to come into effect. The terms of the divorce are usually determined by the courts, though they may take into account prenuptial agreements or post-nuptial agreements, or ratify terms that the spouses may have agreed to privately, while in other areas, agreements related to the marriage have to be rendered in writing to be enforceable. In the absence of agreement, a contested divorce may be stressful to the spouses.
In some countries,[where?] when the spouses agree to divorce and to the terms of the divorce, it can be certified by a non-judiciary administrative entity. The effect of a divorce is that both parties are free to marry again if a filing in an appellate court does not overturn the decision.
Before the late 1960s, nearly all countries that permitted divorce required proof by one party that the other party had committed an act incompatible with the marriage. This was termed "grounds" for divorce (popularly called "fault") and was the only way to terminate a marriage. No-fault divorce is available in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and other Western countries.
Fault-based divorces can be contested; evaluation of offences may involve allegations of collusion of the parties working together to get the divorce, or condonation by approving the offence, connivance by tricking someone into committing an offence, 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.
The grounds for a divorce which a party could raise and need to prove included 'desertion,' 'abandonment,' 'cruelty,' or 'adultery.' The requirement of proving a ground was revised and withdrawn by the terms of 'no-fault' statutes, which became popular in many Western countries in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 'no-fault' jurisdictions divorce can be obtained either on a simple allegation of 'irreconcilable differences,' 'irretrievable break-down', or 'incompatibility' with respect to the marriage relationship, or on the ground of de facto separation.
Most Western jurisdictions have a no-fault divorce system, which requires no allegation or proof of fault of either party. The barest of assertions suffice. For example, in countries that require "irretrievable breakdown", the mere assertion that the marriage has broken down will satisfy the judicial officer. In other jurisdictions requiring irreconcilable differences, the mere allegation that the marriage has been irreparable by these differences is enough for granting a divorce. Courts will not inquire into facts. A "yes" is enough, even if the other party vehemently says "no".
In jurisdictions adopting the 'no-fault' principle regarding whether to grant a divorce, some courts may still take into account the fault of the parties when determining some aspects of the content of the divorce decree, e.g., its terms for the division of property and debts and the absence, or amount, of spousal support. Provisions related to child custody are determined using a different fundamental standard: the child's or children's best interests; At the same time, some behaviors that may constitute marital fault e.g., violence, cruelty, endangerment, neglect, or substance abuse may also qualify as factors to be considered when determining child custody, they do so for the independent reason that they provide evidence as to what arrangement is in the child's or children's best interests in the future.
It is estimated that upwards of 95% of divorces in the U.S. are "uncontested", because the two parties are able to come to an agreement (either with or without lawyers/mediators/collaborative counsel) about the property, children, and support issues. When the parties can agree and present the court with a fair and equitable agreement, approval of the divorce is typically guaranteed. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement, they may ask the court to decide how to split property and deal with the custody of their children. Though this may be necessary, the courts would prefer parties to come to an agreement prior to entering court.
Where the issues are not complex and the parties are cooperative, a settlement often can be directly negotiated between them. In the majority of cases, forms are acquired from their respective state websites and a filing fee is paid to the state. Most U.S. states charge between $175 and $350 for a simple divorce filing. Collaborative divorce and mediated divorce are considered uncontested divorces.
In the United States, many state court systems are experiencing an increasing proportion of pro se (i.e., litigants represent themselves without a lawyer) in divorce cases. In San Diego, for example, the number of divorce filings involving at least one self-representing litigant rose from 46% in 1992 to 77% in 2000, and in Florida from 66% in 1999 to 73% in 2001. Urban courts in California report that approximately 80% of the new divorce filings are filed pro se.
Collaborative divorce is a method for divorcing couples to come to an agreement on divorce issues. In a collaborative divorce, the parties negotiate an agreed resolution with the assistance of attorneys who are trained in the collaborative divorce process and in mediation and often with the assistance of a neutral financial specialist or divorce coaches. The parties are empowered to make their own decisions based on their own needs and interests, but with complete information and full professional support.
Once the collaborative divorce starts, the lawyers are disqualified from representing the parties in a contested legal proceeding, should the collaborative law process end prematurely. Most attorneys who practise collaborative divorce claim that it can be more cost-effective than other divorce methods, e.g., going to court.
Portugal, for example, allows two persons to file an electronic request for no-fault collaborative divorce in a non judiciary administrative entity. In specific cases, with no children, real property, alimony, or common address, can be completed within one hour. 041b061a72