Since the 1960s most states have adopted "no-fault" divorce laws that allow couples to divorce without proving wrongdoing.
Due in part to this reform and probably to other cultural changes, the divorce rate has risen, and being divorced is no longer looked down upon.
Divorce is a crisis involving a very real end, but it is also a very real new beginning.
Divorce is the end of a chapter of life, but not the end of life itself (even though it may feel that way).
We'll be dealing with the emotional and legal aspects of divorce separately in this document.
The final thing to know up front about divorce is that divorce is not the end of the world.
The fourth thing to know about divorce is that it is at once an emotional journey, and a legal process, and that it is best to keep these two aspects of divorce separate when that is possible.
Marriage is a legal contract recognized by the state conferring rights, privileges and responsibilities.
Acceptable grounds for fault divorce varied from state to state, but usually included abuse, adultery, and abandonment.
The difficulty of gaining divorce, and a cultural climate that stigmatized divorce combined to keep divorce rates low.