Divorce or the dissolution of a marriage is a very delicate process, and it totally recasts the parties' domestic relations for practical purposes. Divorce involves more than the spouses, and their children, properties, financial commitments and liabilities, and the emotions of everyone by the divorce should be considered. Divorce and domestic relations issues are deeply personal matters, and the family issues that lead to divorce are numerous. Domestic disputes that cause a divorce often reverberate throughout the divorce process and beyond, potentially for years if the spouses have children. Particularly when there has been abuse in the marital relationship, the physical, emotional, and psychological impact on the parties can last far beyond the entry of the final divorce decree.
The parties must establish proper jurisdiction and venue in order to initiate an annulment action. Usually, to obtain the jurisdiction and proper venue, the courts of the state where the parties were married have jurisdiction in an annulment action. In most states, if one of the parties wants to bring an action in a state court, that party must show that one of the parties has been residing in that particular state for the required period. Alternatively, a state has jurisdiction if either party has met that state's residency requirement. Venue is established if the party seeking the annulment of the marriage has met the domicile requirements within the court's jurisdiction.
The terms "commingling" and "tracing" are related concepts in the identification and division of property in divorce proceedings. Commingling occurs when a spouse or both spouses treat separate property in such a way that it loses its separate property character. Common ways for that to happen is for a spouse to use his or her separate property to pay marital debts, purchase marital property, collateralize a marital debt, or allow the other spouse to use the property as if it is marital property.
In the divorce context, a temporary order for personal protection (sometimes called a "restraining order") is a court order prohibiting a spouse from contacting or harming the other spouse. Protection orders are common in situations involving spousal abuse or harassment. The orders usually are kept in place for the duration of the divorce case.
The concept of equitable distribution of marital property takes into consideration both economic and non-economic contribution of the spouses towards marital property acquisition. During divorce, all marital property is divided between the spouses according to the distribution scheme available in the state where the divorce occurs. Unequal division between spouses can result from factors such as the length of the marriage, the property brought to the marriage by each party, whether one party has substantial assets not subject to division, the parties' contributions to the marriage, and other factors. Spouses' non-economic contributions have become a major factor in the division of marital assets during divorce. Sometimes, they are mentioned as the "services rendered by a spouse." Non-economic contributions become a critical factor in cases where the contributing spouse does not work at all.