is the dissolution of a marriage. Rates
of divorce have skyrocketed during the last 100
years as the stigma of divorce and social
consequences have waned. In the recent past,
one of the parties had to show legal fault by the
other party to be granted a divorce. Today
no-fault divorce is allowed in every state making
divorce a simple mutually agreed to process.
Many women are also opting to have
children outside of marriage as the single-parent
family has become widely accepted. Today the
stigma of being an unwed or divorced mother has all
Children born in common law
marriages are presumed to be the husband's child.
However, if this is not actually the case, a
paternity proceeding can absolve the husband of
parental and financial responsibilities to the
child. If a child is conceived before divorce
and born afterwards litigation may be required to
prove parental responsibility.
Divorce is a legal action that
must be accomplished by judicial procedure.
The parties can tentatively agree upon the the
disposition of community property and other matters
but the court will have the final word with regards
to the divorce, property settlement, child custody
and visitation, and the amount of alimony and child
support payments to be made by the parties. A
pre-marital agreement can provide some protection to
assets that were acquired before the marriage.
In some cases the court will permit "family
mediation" to arrive at a less contested means of
settling a divorce and resolving issues.
Men who have divorced are referred
to as a divorcé while a divorced woman is a