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Divorce (or dissolution of marriage) is the termination of a marriage or 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 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 person; where polygyny is legal but polyandry is not, divorce allows the woman to marry a new husband.

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.<ref>The Covenant Divorce Recovery Leader's Handbook - Page 166, Wade Powers - 2008</ref>

The only countries that do not allow divorce are the Philippines and the Vatican City, an ecclesiastical state, which has no procedure for divorce. Countries that have relatively recently legalized divorce are Italy (1970), Portugal (1975), Brazil (1977), Spain (1981), Argentina (1987),<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> Paraguay (1991),<ref name="State pp 102">Sex and the State: Abortion, Divorce, and the Family Under Latin. American Dictatorships and Democracies, by Mala Htun, pp 102</ref> Colombia (1991* <ref>divorce between 1976-1991 was allowed only for non-Catholics</ref>),<ref name="State pp 102"/> Andorra (1995), <ref>Le divorce en droit comparé: Europe by Bernard Dutoit, Raphaël Arn, Béatrice Sfondylia, Camilla Taminelli, pp.56</ref> Ireland (1996), Chile (2004)<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=news }}</ref> and Malta (2011).

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.<ref> One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication in the public domain: {{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }} </ref>


Divorce sections
Intro  Overview  Law  Polygamy and divorce  Causes of divorce  Effects of divorce  Statistics  Divorce of same-sex married couples (United States)  Religion and divorce  Gender and divorce  History   See also    References   Suggested reading  External links  

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