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Divorce or dissolution of marriage is the ending of a marriage, which can be contrasted with an annulment which is a declaration that a marriage is void, though the effects of marriage may be recognized in such unions, such as spousal support, child custody and distribution of property.
In developed countries, divorce rates have increased markedly during the twentieth century. Among the states in which divorce has become commonplace are the United States, Japan, Korea and members of the European Union. In U.S, Canada, the United Kingdom and other some other developed Commonwealth countries, this boom in divorce developed in the last half of the twentieth century. In addition, acceptance of the single-parent family has resulted in many women deciding to have children outside marriage as there is little remaining social stigma attached to unwed mothers. The subject of divorce as a social phenomenon is an important research topic in sociology.
Some researchers argue that divorce rate does not always reflect actual interactions among people; that is, some countries may show a low divorce rate because, in such countries, people rarely get married in the first place.
The term between divorce and remarriage varies depending on the country and the gender of the divorcee. In some countries, women need to wait longer than men before remarrying to avoid confusion about paternity . Children born after divorce may or may not be recognized as children of their father depending on the period between divorce and birth. In most common law jurisdictions there is a presumption that the child born during the marriage is the father's child, however this presumption can be overcome by identifying the putative father and bringing a paternity or affiliation proceeding. If the child was conceived before the divorce but born afterward this is the kind of grey area that jurists enjoy litigating. If a man accepts the child as his own he may be declared the father by estoppel as the parens patrie power of the court would rather the child have a male role model responsible for child support and other parental obligations rather than have the child grow up in a monoparental family.
A man who has been divorced is a divorcé; a divorced woman is a divorcée (from French).
Material to fill in.
History of Divorce
Divorce in some jurisdictions is a relatively recent phenomenon. In Canada there was no divorce law until the 1960s. Before that the only way to get divorced was to apply to the Canadian Senate where a special committee would undertake an investigation of a request for a divorce and if they found that the request had merit, the marriage would be dissolved by an Act of Parliament.
Great Britain
Prior to 1670 a marriage could only be ended by the Church courts if it could be shown to have never existed in the first place, either through inability to consent (e.g. insanity) or by want of capacity to marry (e.g. precontract, consanguinity, the two parties were related by a previous marriage). A marriage could also be ended if one of the parties were impotent or frigid when the marriage was contracted. It was also possible to get a legal separation from the church known as divorce a mensa et thoro (from board and hearth). Grounds for the separation included adultery, cruelty and heresy, and it meant that any offspring were not rendered illegitimate. However neither spouse could remarry until the onter had died.
In the 1530s, Henry VIII decided that he wished to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, on the grounds of affinity; he argued that, since Catherine was his brother Arthur 's widow, the marriage had never really existed. Catherine claimed that her marriage to Arthur had never been properly consummated. In 1533 Thomas Cranmer was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury and he declared that Henry's marriage to Catherine was void, effectively bastardizing their daughter Mary (later Mary I). In 1536 Cranmer similarly declared Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn void, most probably due to Henry's pervious relationship with Anne's sister Mary Boleyn. Cranmer tried to reform the Church of England's Canon law so that it allowed divorce for adultery, cruelty, and desertion, but these changes were not implemented.
Following Lord Roos's divorce on the grounds of adultery in 1670, the procedure for divorce in English law went as follows: first the husband brought an action for "criminal conversation" to establish the adultery, then he obtained a divorce a mensa et thoro from the church and then finally he petitioned the House of Lords to grant the divorce.
In 1853 a Royal Commission made recommendations on how to improve the procedure of getting a divorce. In 1857 the Court for Divorce and Matrimonial Causes, based in London, was established, taking over the divorce duties of the church courts. Men could obtain divorce for adultery, but women had to prove cruelty or desertion, in addition of their husband's adultery. In 1923 women were allowed to use the same grounds for divorce as men. In 1969, after much debate, matrimonial breakdown became grounds for divorce.
Religious/Cultural Attitudes to Divorce
Many countries in Europe, such as France prohibited divorce as it was not condoned by the Catholic church. Sometimes citizens would have to travel to other jurisdictions to obtain a divorce.
David Instone-Brewer has an extensive website at which discusses marriage and divorce from 1st century context.
Needs to be filled in
Social and Psychological Issues
Women are generally the financial victims of divorce due to the lack of equal pay for equal work in many countries and the fact that many women give up employment after marriage to bring up children. They are often left with the burden of looking after the children after the divorce while having to find work in low-paid jobs. Child support collection is a major problem as many fathers do not accept that they have an obligation towards their children. Many national and local governments provide some kind of welfare system for divorced mothers and their children. See single mother for details. Recognition of the problems faced by fathers and other relatives is given by self-help groups such as Families Need Fathers .
:causes of divorce
:effects on children
:women's shelters etc.
:human rights issues
Legal Aspects of Divorce
United States
Under the laws of all of the states of the United States (excepting New York) a divorce is now called dissolution of marriage.
This change in nomenclature was concomitant with the trend of most states to depart from the more restrictive fault-based divorce to the more liberal no-fault divorce standard.
A number of states have discarded fault-based grounds for divorce, however all 50 states do offer some form of no-fault divorce.
Fault-Based Divorce
The procedural and substantive specifics of pleading vary among jurisdictions . Examples of fault-based grounds include: adultery, attempted murder, desertion, habitual drunkenness, infection of one’s spouse with venereal disease, insanity, impotency, mental cruelty, physical cruelty, and use of addictive drugs.
No-Fault Divorce
Again, the specifics vary among the several states. As a general statement however, a no-fault divorce occurs when neither the wife nor the husband is to blame for the breakdown of the marriage. Common bases for no-fault divorce are incompatibility, irreconcilable differences, and irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. In some jurisdictions, where the parties have lived separately for a statutoraly determined amount of time with the intent of permanent separation, this can constitute no-fault grounds.
Part and parcel to divorce are:
:financial settlements
:children's issues.
:pre-nuptial agreements.
In Canada while civil and political rights are in the jurisdiction of the provinces of Canada, the Constitution of Canada specifically made marriage and divorce the realm of the federal government. Essentially this means that Canada's divorce law is uniform throughout Canada, even in Quebec, that differs from the other provinces in its use of the civil law as codified in the Civil Code of Quebec as opposed to the common law that is in force in the other provinces and generally interpreted in similar ways throughout the Anglo-Canadian provinces.
In Japan , under the national laws, divorce is a simple process of submitting a declaration to the relevant government office that says both spouses agree to divorce. Unfortunately for foreign spouses, it is all too easy, and common, for a [ Japanese spouse to forge a signature on a divorce form.] So some countries do not accept this kind of divorce carried out in Japan. As a defense, there is a form you can submit that prevents a divorce form from being submitted for six months.
There are also [ three other types of divorce in Japan]: Divorce by mediation in a family court (chotei rikon), Divorce by judgement of the family court (shimpan rikon), and Divorce by judgment of a district court (saiban rikon).
United Kingdom
In the UK, divorce is administered by the Lord Chancellor's Department, with the involvement of the DFES. Relevant laws are:
Matrimonial Causes Act 1973
[ Family Law Act 1996]
[ Children Act 1989]
[ The Family Proceedings Courts (Matrimonial Proceedings etc.) Rules 1991]
Marriage Act 1949
In the United States, it is often quoted that "50% of marriages end in divorce," however we must closely examine the actual statistics to understand the actual divorce rate. According to the National Center for Health Statistics (part of the Center for Disease Control), in 2001 the per capita marriage rate was 7.8 marrigaes in 1,000 people (0.78%).[] This means that for every 1,000 people living in the US, in 7.8 marriages were performed during the year 2001, or 15.6 individuals got married.[] The divorce rate was 4.0 divorces per 1,000 people (0.40%), or 8.0 out of every 1,000 people got divorces during 2001.[]
A more accurate concluding statement to draw from this data would be "The divorce rate is half the marriage rate." The statement "50% of marriages end in divorce" would instead have to study a sample of marriages throughout their duration, that is, over a period of many years, and determine how many of the marriages actually performed ended in divorce (as compared to annulment or death of a spouse). These two statements would be equivalent if (1) marriage and divorce trends did not change over a time period equal to the length of a marriage (say, 50 years), and (2) all divorces were performed in the same country as their marriage. While the second statement is close enough to true, the first one is clearly not, as during the ten year period from 1991 to 2001 the divorce rate decreased from 0.47% to the above stated 0.40%.[]
divorce: an overview
There are two types of divorce-- absolute and limited. An absolute divorce, (also called a "divorce a vinculo matrimonii" is a judicial termination of a marriage based on marital misconduct or other statutory cause arising after the marriage ceremony. As a result of an absolute divorce both parties' status becomes single again.
Several jurisdictions' statutes authorize limited divorces, or "divorce a mensa et thoro." The consequences of limited divorces vary from state to state. Typically, a limited divorce is commonly referred to as a separation decree; the right to cohabitation is terminated but the marriage is undissolved and the status of the parties is not altered.
Many states have enacted what is called no-fault divorce statutes. This is 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 potentially embarrassing and undesirable requirement by providing for the dissolution of a marriage on a finding that the relationship is no longer viable. It is hard to tell whether no-fault divorce statutes are the cause or an effect of the rising national divorce rate in America. Look to various state laws for divorce law information.
What are the most common Causes of Divorce?

No statistics on this are collected -- the grounds listed on the vital statistics forms that are filed with each divorce case in most states rarely list the actual cause of the divorce. The causes listed below come from a survey of experienced divorce lawyers who have been elected by their peers to the Academy. As a divorce lawyer, I consider it to be about the most accurate listing of causes of divorce that is available.

Of course in each case, the two spouses and the lawyers might each have a different opinion of the real cause of the divorce. Many of the causes listed below often would not, by themselves, lead to divorce, or even happen in the first place, or would get remedied by the couple, were it not for "A lack of commitment to the marriage", which itself is one of the main causes the Academy members list below.

On the quite different question of "What Grounds of Divorce are Most Commonly Used," we do have some information from France in 1996, the U.S. ca. 1969, Alabama ca. 1998, and Fairfax, Virginia circa 1990. See also Affair Statistics.

From "Making Marriage Last", published by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers at
Why Marriages Fail

Not all marriages fail for the same reason. Nor is there usually one reason for the breakdown of a particular marriage. Nevertheless, we hear some reasons more often than others.

They are:

Poor communication
Financial problems
A lack of commitment to the marriage
A dramatic change in priorities

There are other causes we see a lot, but not quite as often as those listed above .They are:

Failed expectations or unmet needs
Addictions and substance abuse
Physical, sexual or emotional abuse
Lack of conflict resolution skills

"A variety of studies suggest that the seeds of marital distress and
divorce are there for many couples when they say, "I Do." These studies
show that premarital (or early marital) variables can predict which
couples will do well and which will not with accuracies of 80% up to 94%
(e.g., Clements, Stanley, & Markman, 1997; Fowers, Montel, & Olson,
1996; Gottman, 1994; Karney & Bradbury, 1995; Kelly & Conley, 1987; and
Rogge & Bradbury, in press).

"Mismanaged conflict and negative interaction in marriage predicts both
marital distress and negative effects for children (e.g., Gottman, 1994;
Markman & Hahlweg, 1993; Clements, Stanley, & Markman, 1997; Cowan &
Cowan, 1992; and Grych & Fincham, 1990).

"Money is the one thing that people say they argue about most in
marriage, followed by children (Stanley & Markman, 1997). But, there is
a lot of reason to believe that what couples argue about is not as
important as how they argue (Markman, Stanley, & Blumberg, 1994)."
-- From a September 25, 1998 posting on the Smart Marriages Archive, probably by Scott Stanley

Radcliffe Public Policy Institute
Focus groups told researchers that the pressures faced by low-income working parents make it extremely difficult to keep jobs and raise families, creating family and employment instability.

"One in 10 of the people who receive marriage guidance from Relate each year
now blame the internet for their problems." From "Relate says internet to blame for relationships break-up." Monday 15th April 2002


"Couples who attend premarital courses tend to communicate better, solve
problems and report better relationships than those who do not, says a study
in the April 2003 issue of the journal Family Relations. The increase in
"marital strength: is about 30%, say co-authors Jason Carroll of Brigham
Young University and William Doherty of the University of Minnesota. The
couples also see themselves more as partners in a relationship.
Researchers' meta-analysis looked at 23 existing studies, many of which
assessed couples from six months to one year after marriage and used control
groups of those not attending courses. Classes, some at low cost, are
available through churches, schools, employers and health care providers."
Some Reasons for Divorce

She married him because he was such a "strong, forceful man"
Then divorced him because he was too "dominating"

He married her because she was so "fragile and petit"
Then divorced her because she was too "weak and helpless"

She married him because he knew how "to be a good provider"
Then divorced him because "all he thought about was work"

He married her because "she reminded him of his mother"
Then divorced her because "she was more like a mother than a wife"

She married him because he was "happy and smiled a lot"
Then divorced him because he was "complacent and joked too much"

He married her because she was "steady and sensible"
Then divorced her because she too "boring and dull"

She married him because he was "the life of the party"
Then divorced him because "he wanted to socialize all the time"

He married her because she "knew the value of a 'buck'"
Then divorced her because she "insisted on following a budget"

She married him because he "took care of his body"
Then divorced him because he "spent too much time at the gym"

He married her because she was such a "good conversationalist"
Then divorced her because she was too "chatty"

She married him because he "loved kids"
Then divorced him because "he wanted too big of a family"

He married her because she "catered to his whims"
Then divorced her because she was too "smothering"

She married him because he knew how to "satisfy a woman"
Then divorced him because he was a "sex maniac"

He married her because she was the "girl of his dreams"
Then divorced her because she was a "nightmare"

She married him because he "loved to travel"
Then divorced him because he "couldn't settle down in one place"
July 22, 2002
Ok lets say two people marry very young and they are both Christians. It doesn't work out and they divorce. What if one day they want to remarry another person? Will God bless their second union, or will he forever see the first union as marriage and remarriage as adultry?
I am not saying they are justified for their actions. DIVORCE IS WRONG. And I don't how most denominations today will not worry about divorced people marrying again. Isn't this wrong? What do you think? Is remarriage justified on any grounds at all except adultry?
NOTE: THE DIVORCE WAS NOT THE RESULT OF ANYONE CHEATING, THEY JUST SIMPLY, ON FRIENDLY TERMS, WANTED TO SEPERATE AND NOT BE MARRIED. So can they marry a different person and have God bless their second marriage?------

Divorce was not meant to be apart of the Christian life (Matthew 19:8, 9). Many today are divorcing their spouse for reasons other then infidelity and that is wrong. Plain and simple, God hates divorce! I believe it is the number one cancer in America today.
Here is my take on marriage and divorce. Marriage is meant to last a lifetime. As Christians, God has given us the power to stay married if we choose. But as stated, many Christians are opting out of their marriage vows as if it were a business deal. Jesus said that whatever God has joined together in marriage let no man put asunder (Matthew 19:6), but many Christians have disregarded this warning. In fact, the divorce rate for Christians has caught up with that of non-Christians
There are only a few reasons for divorce. The first reason, adultery or being unfaithful to one’s spouse. The Bible says in Matthew 19:7-9 that there are consequences to divorcing a spouse for reasons other then adultery:
“They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication (adultery), and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”
The second reason for divorce is if one of a married couple gets saved and the unbelieving spouse no longer wants to dwell with the saved spouse (because he/she got saved). The Bible states:
“But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. (I Corinthians 7:15)”
Because of that person’s conversion the spouse did not want to remain in the marriage. God says you are free to let them go and you may remarry.
Here are a few questions that comes up frequently regarding divorce:
1. What if a person was an unbeliever when he got divorced and it was for an unbiblical reason and later became a Christian? What should he do?
If reconciliation is an option, seek it.
If the ex-spouse is not a Christian, he should not remarry the spouse because a believer is not to marry an unbeliever (2 Cor. 6:14).
If either spouse has gotten married, remarriage is not an option either (Deut. 24:3-4; Mark 10:11-12).
If the ex spouse will have nothing to do with any reconciliation or you are not able to contact this person, you are free to remarry.
If the spouse has died, you are free to remarry.
2. What if a person was a believer when he got divorced, but the reason was not adultery or abandonment, and wants to remarry someone different now what should he do?
If you initiated the divorce, then you should not remarry (Matt. 5:31), However....
Reconciliation with the initial spouse should be sought with confession of sin and the request for forgiveness.
If it was the spouse that left without a biblical reason, then you are free to remarry.
Reconciliation should be sought with a confession of sin.
3. What if a couple was divorced, married others, got divorced, and wants to become remarried to again?
The Bible says that you cannot return to your first spouse after you remarried (De 24:3,4; Jer 3:1).
If you have, nevertheless, already gotten married, continue in your marriage and seek the Lord's forgiveness. He will give it.
4. What if a person was a believer when he got divorced, but the reason was not adultery or abandonment, and has already gotten married. Is he in sin?
Depending on the circumstances, he may be. But he should confess his sin to the lord and spouse and seek forgiveness from the original spouse and then he should stay married and be the best husband (or wife) he can be.
(Questions found at
One topic that was not covered in the questions that comes up frequently is physical and mental abuse. Are they grounds for divorce? For this reason it very important that you follow the command of the Lord to not be unequally yoked (II Corinthians 6:14) and also to be fruit inspectors of potential mates. Just because someone says they’re a Christian doesn’t make them one (Matthew 7:21). Be very careful of where you meet people, it will be a good indicator of the quality of the catch. This is a personal opinion of mine, but I believe that anytime you feel your life or the life of your children are in danger you need to get out of the situation…even if he says he’s a Christian.
As far as mental abuse is concerned, in my opinion, it is not grounds for divorce. Too many couples are using mental abuse (arguing, belittling, and name calling) as a way out of a marriage. This maybe a bad situation but not grounds for divorce. My advice is for that couple to seek Godly counseling and ask God to restore the love that once was. I realize it takes two, but many times it boils down to one thing…selfishness! At one time or another you both loved each other and that is still within you. That’s where the Lord comes in. Ask Him to bring it back and be sincere.
In closing, take serious your committed you made before God, and if you’re not already married, follow the commands God has set before you that you will not be caught in a relationship that is headed for failure.
I hope this has helped you with your questions and concerns about divorce.

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