Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, is the termination of a marriage or marital union, the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law of the particular country or state.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 alimony (spousal support), child custody, child visitation / access, parenting time, child support, distribution of property, and division of debt.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 US states (see Grounds for divorce (United States)).
Contested divorces mean that one of several issues are required to be heard by a judge at trial level—this is more expensive, and the parties will have to pay for a lawyer's time and preparation.
Note that "separation" does not necessarily mean separate residences – in some jurisdictions, living in the same household but leading a separate life (e.g., eating, sleeping, socializing, etc.
separately) is sufficient to constitute de facto separation; this is explicitly stated, e.g., in the family laws of Latvia.
Countries that have relatively recently legalized divorce are Italy (1970), Portugal (1975), Brazil (1977), Spain (1981), Argentina (1987), 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, divorce is purely no fault.