Divorce is the legal process of dissolving a marriage that allows former spouses to remarry if they so choose. Most divorces today are granted on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, meaning that there has been a breakdown of the marital relationship for which neither partner is specifically blamed. Prior to the passage of more-lenient divorce laws. many states required that the partner seeking the divorce prove misconduct on the part of the other spouse. Under no-fault divorce laws, however. proof of "blameworthiness" is generally no longer necessary.
Over the past 100 years, the U.S,divorce rate (number of divorces per 1.000 population) has varied from a low of 0.7 in 1900 to an all-time high of 5.3 in 1981 by 2004, it had decreased to 3.7 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007). Although many people believe that marriage should last for a lifetime, others believe that marriage is a commitment that may change over time, Studies have shown that 43 percent of first marriages end in separation or divorce within 15 years (National Centers for Disease Control, 2001).U.S.divorce rates for each state.) Many firsT marriages do not last even fifteen years: One in three first marriages ends within ten years, and one in five ends within five years. The likelihood of divorce goes up with each subsequent marriage in the serial monogamy pattern, When divorces that terminate second or subsequent marriages are taken into account, there are about half as many divorces each year in the United States as there are marriages. These data concern researchers in agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control because separation and divorce often have adverse effects on the health and well-being of both children and adults (National Centers for Disease Control, 2001).