Areas of Practice: Marital Dissolution (Divorce)

A divorce, or dissolution of marriage, is a judicial termination of a marriage based on marital misconduct or other statutory cause arising after the marriage ceremony. As a result of a divorce both parties become single again.

Several jurisdiction’s statutes authorize limited divorces, or what is commonly known as a “legal separation”. Legal separation is a legal status conferred by a court in which the parties remain married but the court sets the rights and liabilities of the parties with respect to child custody, support, visitation, alimony, property, and debts.

Many states have enacted what are referred to as no-fault divorce statutes. These are a response to outdated common law divorce which required proof in a court of law by the divorcing party that the divorcee had done one of several enumerated things as sufficient grounds for the divorce. This entailed proving that the spouse had committed adultery, or some other unsavory act. No-fault divorce eliminates this requirement by providing for the dissolution of a marriage on a finding that the relationship is no longer viable.

Annulment is a method of voiding the contract of marriage. If an annulment is granted, the result is that parties are treated as if the marriage never occurred. An annulment can be granted only if the initial marriage contract suffers from a defect in its formation; for instance, an underage party without parental consent or a party lacking the mental capacity to understand the marriage contract or fraud in the inducement of the marriage contract.

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