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All states now have no-fault divorce laws

The holiday period is a time of family gatherings and a source of joy for children, which is why couples in Texas and around the country with unhappy marriages often wait until January to file for divorce. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports that divorce filings rise by about 25% in January, and figures from the United Kingdom suggest that about 20% of British married couples plan to file for divorce after the holidays. However, the overall rate of divorce is falling. Another report from the AAML reveals that the divorce rate in the United States is the lowest it has been since the late 1970s.

The divorce rate started to soar when states began to introduce the concept of no-fault divorce. During a no-fault divorce, spouses are not required to cite a specific reason such as adultery or domestic violence. In 2010, New York became the last state to pass no-fault divorce legislation. No-fault laws provide vulnerable spouses with an escape from abusive relationships and dangerous situations, and the data suggests that they save hundreds of lives each year.

Researchers have found that domestic violence falls by about a third, suicides among women drop by up to 16%, and the number of wives murdered by their husbands is reduced by about 10% when laws allow one spouse to file for divorce unilaterally. The first no-fault divorce law in America was passed in 1969 in California.

While obtaining a no-fault divorce may be fairly straightforward, dealing with thorny matters like alimony and property division can still be a contentious process. This is especially true in states like Texas with strict community property laws. This is why attorneys with family law experience may suggest prenuptial or postnuptial agreements to couples who wish to set their own rules for how their property will be divided should they choose to divorce.

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