Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary

Definition: Divorce

Quick Summary of Divorce

The legal termination of marriage. All US states require a spouse to identify a legal reason for requesting a divorce when that spouse files the divorce papers with the court. These reasons are referred to as grounds for a divorce.

What is the dictionary definition of Divorce?

Dictionary Definition

The legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other competent body.

  1. The legal dissolution of a marriage.
  2. A separation of connected things.
  3. obsolete That which separates.

Full Definition of Divorce

Divorce is the dissolution of the contract of marriage in which both partners are still alive. In contrast, a marriage is automatically dissolved when one partner dies, or is presumed dead (see: Presumption of death).

The person seeking divorce is referred to in court proceedings as the ‘petitioner’, the other party the ‘respondent’. Of course, in many cases the divorce is uncontested, that is, accepted by both partners.

For the petition to succeed it will be necessary to show that the marriage has ‘broken down irretrievably’. This is a stricter criterion than accepted in many countries. To accept the claim of irretrievable breakdown, the petitioner will need to demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • the respondent has committed adultery, or
  • the respondent has behaved in such a way that it would not be reasonable to expect further cohabitation (‘unreasonable behaviour’), or
  • the respondent has refused to live with or support the petitioner (‘desertion’), or
  • the partners have lived apart by mutual agreement for at least two years, and both partners agree to the divorce, or
  • the partners have lived apart by mutual agreement for at least five years.

If the divorce is granted, courts are empowered to order financial relief for either partner and the support of dependants.

If the remedy of divorce is not legally available, a court may still order a judicial separation (see: Judicial separation), possibly with financial relief.

In all cases of divorce where the divorced couple has children, issues of custody (see: Custody of children) and, in extreme cases, guardianship (see: Guardian) will arise. These may have to be settled by the courts; on the whole, the welfare of the children will be the overriding concern here, not the rights or wrongs of the parents.

Synonyms For Divorce

divorcement, disassociate, disjoint, dissociate, disunite

Cite Term

To help you cite our definitions in your bibliography, here is the proper citation layout for the three major formatting styles, with all of the relevant information filled in.

Page URL
Modern Language Association (MLA):
Divorce. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. September 23, 2021 https://payrollheaven.com/define/divorce/.
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Divorce. PayrollHeaven.com. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. https://payrollheaven.com/define/divorce/ (accessed: September 23, 2021).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Divorce. PayrollHeaven.com. Retrieved September 23, 2021, from PayrollHeaven.com website: https://payrollheaven.com/define/divorce/

Definition Sources

Definitions for Divorce are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 22nd April, 2020 | 0 Views.