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Divorce Information. Sample Divorce Forms and Instructions.

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Divorce (or the dissolution of marriage) is the termination of a marital union, the canceling and/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 and/or state. Divorce should not be confused with 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. Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, but in most countries it requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process. The legal process of divorce may also involve issues of alimony (spousal support), child custody, child visitation, access, parenting time, child support, distribution of property, and division of debt. In most countries monogamy is required by law, so divorce allows each former partner to marry another; where polygyny is legal but polyandry is not, divorce allows the woman to marry a new husband. Divorce can be a stressful experience, affecting finances, living arrangements, household jobs, schedules, parenting and the outcomes of children of the marriage as they face each stage of development from childhood to adulthood. Such children may be deeply affected.



Divorce In The United States

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 almost 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 come to an agreement prior to entering court.[citation needed] 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. Because of additional requirements that must be met, most military divorces are typically uncontested. 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.

On average, first marriages that end in divorce last about eight years. Of the first marriages for women from 1955 to 1959, about 79% marked their 15th anniversary, compared with only 57% for women who married for the first time from 1985 to 1989. The median time between divorce and a second marriage was about three and a half years. In 2009, the divorce rate declined. A 1995 study found a wide range of factors correlating with the divorce rate including frequency of sex, wealth, race, and religious commitment. In 2001, marriages between people of different faiths were three times more likely to be divorced than those of the same faith. In a 1993 study, members of two mainline Protestant religions had a 20% chance of being divorced in 5 years; a Catholic and an Evangelical, a 33% chance; a Jew and a Christian, a 40% chance.A study by the Barna Group, that conducts polls of interest to Christians, reports that a higher divorce rate was associated with infrequent church attendance. Success in marriage has been associated with higher education and higher age. 81% of college graduates, over 26 years of age, who wed in the 1980s, were still married 20 years later. 65% of college graduates under 26, who married in the 1980s, were still married 20 years later. 49% of high school graduates under 26 years old, who married in the 1980s, were still married 20 years later. 2.9% of adults age 35 to 39 without a college degree divorced in the year 2009, compared with 1.6% with a college education. A population study found that in 2004 and 2008, liberal-voting states have lower rates of divorce than conservative-voting states, possibly because people in liberal states tend to wait longer before getting married. An analysis of this study found it to be misleading due to sampling at an aggregate level. It revealed that when sampling the same data by individuals, Republican leaning voters are less likely to have a divorce or extramarital affair than Democrat leaning voters and independents. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that from 1975 to 1988 in the U.S., in families with children present, wives file for divorce in approximately two-thirds of cases. In 1975, 71.4% of the cases were filed by women, and in 1988, 65% were filed by women. 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 without a hearing (either with or without lawyers/mediators/collaborative counsel) about the property, children, and support issues. A 2011 study found a 1% increase in the unemployment rate correlated with a 1% decrease in the divorce rate, presumably because more people were financially challenged to afford the legal proceedings.

Some states permit same-sex marriage. For same-sex couples in the United States, divorce law is in its infancy and is less than clear on how such unions may be legally dissolved in another state. For example, if a same-sex couple is married in a state that recognizes gay marriage but returns to reside in a state that does not, they might find themselves in a situation where their own state, in failing to recognize their union will also fail to enable them to divorce. In addition, splitting up the couple's financial resources may prove to be legally difficult and well as determining which spouse is entitled to the custody of their children. Rights of spouses to custody of children. Upon dissolution of a same-sex marriage, legal questions remain as to the rights of spouses to custody of the biological children of their spouses. Unresolved legal questions abound in this area. Child custody policies include several guidelines that determine with whom the child lives following divorce, how time is divided in joint custody situations, and visitation rights. The most frequently applied custody guideline is the best interests of the child standard, which takes into account the parents preferences, the childs preferences, the interactions between parents and children, childrens adjustment, and all family members mental and physical health. Same-sex divorce in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage Since same-sex marriages are not recognized in a multitude of states, couples who are married in states that do recognize same-sex marriages will find themselves in a position of being precluded from dissolving their marriages in the states in which they live. When this happens, legal questions will remain unanswered as to which state laws will be applicable to determine the rights of each divorcing partner. In addition, special problems will present themselves when same-sex couples cannot be divorced in states that do recognize same sex marriage because they are not residents of such states.

  • Child Support Review Letter
  • A Child Support Review Letter is used to request a review of a current child support obligation. This letter may be prepared by the Payer (the person obligated to pay support) or the Payee (the person receiving support payments). This simple online interview will help you create a letter which includes the important facts necessary to request a review from your state agency or legal aid office.
  • Child Visitation Letter
  • This letter is used to plan visitation between a child and parent or to inform the other parent that they have not complied with the child visitation provisions.
  • Demand for Alimony Payment
  • This letter is used to remind a separated or divorced spouse of support obligations and request that the past due payments be made. If such payments are not made in a timely manner, this letter documents your attempt to resolve the matter.
  • Divorce Records Request Letter
  • Use this letter to request a copy of an annulment or divorce decree from the city, county, or other local office where the event occurred.
  • Divorce Settlement Agreement
  • A Divorce Settlement Agreement is a legal document prepared together by two spouses seeking a divorce who have reached an agreement about how their property, assets, debts and other marital issues will be divided or handled. This Agreement can also be used to define child custody, visitation and child support if the parties have minor children under age 18. IMPORTANT: You must be in contact with your spouse and have reached an agreement in order to use this form. Take note that each state may call this Agreement by a different title. For example, a Divorce Settlement Agreement may be known in your state as a "Marital Settlement Agreement" or a "Marital Separation Agreement." The appropriate title for your state will appear within the Agreement.
  • Divorce Worksheet
  • This worksheet is intended to organize personal and financial information about you and your spouse to assist you in preparing for a divorce. It can be prepared before or after you have an initial meeting with a lawyer who is assisting you with your divorce.
  • Florida Name Change Petition and Order
  • This Petition is used to get a court order for an adult legal name change in Florida. A court order is often unnecessary if you just got married or divorced.
  • Illinois Name Change Petition and Order
  • This Petition is used to get a court order for an adult legal name change in Illinois. A court order is often unnecessary if you just got married or divorced.
  • New York Name Change Petition and Order
  • This Petition is used to get a court order for an adult legal name change in New York. A court order is often unnecessary if you just got married or divorced.
  • Marriage Separation Agreement
  • A Marriage Separation Agreement is a legal document prepared by spouses contemplating a divorce who have reached an agreement to separate and regarding how their property, assets, debts and other marital issues will be divided or handled. This Agreement can also be used to define child custody, visitation and child support if the parties have minor children. If you have legal questions regarding the legal separation process or filing for legal separation, you can use Rocket Lawyer's On Call service to connect with an attorney in your area. IMPORTANT: This form should not be used by residents of South Dakota and North Carolina as these states do not recognize legal separations. If you have reached an agreement and want to proceed with a divorce please use Rocket Lawyer's Divorce Settlement Agreement.
  • Name Change Notification Letter
  • This letter can be used to notify various companies, organizations and individuals that you have changed your name. It may also be used to notify them of an address change. You will need to create one letter for each institution or individual you want to notify. Our simple interview will help you create all your name change notifications in minutes.
  • Texas Name Change Petition and Order
  • This Petition is used to get a court order for an adult legal name change in Texas. A court order is often unnecessary if you just got married or divorced.
  • Waiver of Service
  • A Waiver of Service is a document that allows a party to waive the requirement of formal service in a lawsuit or legal action.


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