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Divorce

marriage set partners ground

Divorce, legal dissolution of a valid marriage, as distinguished from separation, in which the partners remain married but live apart, and annulment, in which the marriage is deemed to be invalid. In most cases, divorce leaves the partners free to remarry, sometimes after a set period. Divorce has existed in most cultures, but its availability and the grounds for it have varied widely. Christianity regards marriage as a sacrament that may not lightly be set aside, and this view has affected the Western concept of divorce. The Roman Catholic Church still does not allow divorce, but most other churches do. In the United States each state makes its own divorce laws. Adultery is the most widely accepted ground for divorce; others include cruelty, alcoholism, insanity, desertion, and conviction of a serious crime. A modern trend is to make irreparable breakdown of the marriage another ground, without involving the misconduct of either party; the first states to introduce this were California and Iowa. Divorce is a major social problem in the United States; it has been estimated that 1 in every 2 marriages ends in divorce.

See also: Marriage.

Dorothea Lynde Dix [next] [back] Division

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