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Research identifies hidden benefits of no-fault divorce

Married people in Wisconsin may take advantage of no-fault divorce laws, which grant either spouse the ability to end a marriage. Although divorce typically represents a challenging time in people's lives, a data researcher at the U.S. Census Bureau has brought attention to a study that identified a link between access to divorce and positive societal benefits. In 2004, the country of Chile legalized divorce and created a chance for researchers to study the results of the law change.

Within two years, the introduction of no-fault divorce laws in that country reduced the number of women murdered by their spouses by 10%. Female suicides after the law change fell 8% to 16%. Reports of domestic violence went down by 30%. The study concluded that no-fault divorce gave endangered partners, particularly women, a legal avenue to escape from dangerous relationships.

Within the United States, the legalization of no-fault divorce occurred at different times among the states before all states accepted the concept. This situation allowed researchers to compare differences between states with and without no-fault divorce laws. Couples who lived in states that allowed either spouse a way out of a marriage without citing specific reasons were 8% more likely to have both spouses employed outside the home.

Although family law no longer blocks access to divorce if one or both partners cannot provide suitable reasons for divorcing, ending a marriage requires the completion of multiple legal steps. An attorney might advise a person about the process and prepare necessary court filings. A person might also gain important insights into how marital property will be divided and whether spousal support could be an issue. Legal advice while settling a marital estate and determining child custody might reduce delays and protects a person's financial or parental rights during a crucial time.

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