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Divorce

No fault divorce

There are two basic approaches to divorce: fault-based divorce and “no-fault” divorce. Most states such as Florida, permit a “no-fault” divorce on the grounds that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Some states still require a fault-based divorce, some allow no-fault divorces and a few states permit both. The fault grounds or reasons for divorce vary from state to state. Cruelty is a specific fault ground for divorce in most of the states that allow fault-based divorces. Prior to the introduction of no-fault divorce grounds, cruelty was the most frequently used reason in seeking a divorce.

Property division in divorce: Equitable distribution

As the name implies, “equitable distribution” seeks to give the divorce court some discretion to distribute property equitably in divorce. Many common-law states such as Florida and some community property states, use equitable distribution for dividing marital assets and debts between divorcing spouses. Many equitable distribution states also apply the scheme to divisible property, and some so-called “all property” states may apply it to all of the spouses’ property. 

Uncontested divorce actions

In general, uncontested divorce actions occur when either of the spouses does not appear in court in a divorce proceeding or when both the spouses mutually agree upon a divorce and on matters relating to financial settlements, custody and/or support of their minor children. Typically, that mutual agreement is shown in the divorce petition, and it may include a waiver of service. Uncontested actions may arise in proceedings for dissolution of marriage, annulment and separation.

Alimony: Periodic spousal support

Alimony, also called “spousal support,” is common in many states such as Florida. It is monetary support given to a dependent ex-spouse to maintain that ex-spouse’s standard of living as it existed during the marriage. Alimony also is given, regardless of the receiving spouse’s sex, to compensate for faithful service provided as a homemaker, loss of employment opportunities, foregone acquisition of skills for the sake of family and sacrifices made during the marriage.