Divorce is the legal process of ending civil union. While divorce may be common across America, every state has different guidelines when it comes to filing a petition for dissolution of marriage - some permitting divorce on various grounds while others only granting approval under specific conditions.
Knowing the state laws regarding divorce filing is vital when filing for one, so in this article we're exploring five of the strictest states with regard to filing and proceedings - their procedures as well as why these rules may be so stringent.
Arkansas stands out among states as being among the more difficult ones for divorce candidates in terms of residency requirements - candidates must reside for at least 60 days prior to filing their papers for an uncontested divorce, which only permits freewill divorce in cases in which both partners have lived apart for 18 months, or been separated two years or longer, which requires property and custody settlement agreements; such regulations often lengthening out the process itself.
Arkansas employs the "Fault Divorce" process, in which one party must prove that another was at fault in order to seek divorce proceedings. Common grounds include adultery, impotence, habitual drunkenness and domestic violence as grounds for fault divorce in Arkansas. Proving fault adds another layer of complexity to a divorce case and can prolong proceedings by several months or even years; consequently divorce in Arkansas often takes several months before final resolution occurs.
2. New York
New York boasts some of the strictest divorce laws and their system stands out as being extremely unusual among US states. New York remains unique because they still enforce fault-based divorce cases - meaning petitioners must prove that one party was at fault in relation to abandonment, cruelty or adultery that led them down this path of separation and eventual divorce proceedings - more so than no-fault cases which typically last much shorter time and cost considerably less in fees and legal expenses than fault based ones in New York.
New York does not permit unilateral divorce; both parties must reach agreement or wait one year living apart before filing for it. With over 19 million residents and home to many of America's wealthiest people, New York provides some of the country's most complex high net worth divorce cases that further delay proceedings.
3. South Carolina
South Carolina boasts some of the strictest divorce laws. An applicant seeking to get their marriage annulled must attend six months of pre-divorce counseling first before filing. Also, only adultery, addiction or physical abuse qualify as grounds for separation in this state; additionally its Family Court takes an equitable distribution approach rather than equal distribution based on each spouse's needs and contributions - often leading to lengthy court battles as they decide what's fair and equitable between partners in marriages.
Due to South Carolina's mandatory separation requirement, divorce proceedings in that state can often take much longer. An applicant for divorce must live separately for at least 12 months before applying for divorce; failing to do so will have their application rejected outright. Separation doesn't necessarily entail leaving home but leaving behind marriage altogether.
Mississippi divorce laws are among the strictest across all 50 states, imposing extensive requirements and conditions upon applicants before seeking divorce in Mississippi. Just like Arkansas, they only accept fault-based grounds as valid grounds, which can prolong proceedings significantly.
Mississippi allows divorce on multiple grounds: Adultery, Habitual Cruelty, Willful Desertion and Mental Illness. Spouses filing based on mental illness must have lived apart for three consecutive years prior to filing their paperwork - making an already lengthy process even longer.
Mississippi follows suit in South Carolina by mandating that couples filing for divorce wait at least six months to finalize the process.
Finally, Oklahoma stands out among states covered in this article with strict divorce laws. Although Oklahoma allows both fault and no-fault divorces; uncontested ones typically take less time; when couples cannot agree upon property division or support agreements as well as custody decisions then disputes become contentious cases which take years before final resolution occurs.
Oklahoma divorce laws stipulate that both spouses must wait at least six months after filing for separation to receive their final decree of divorce.
Overall, divorcing in any of the states mentioned can be considerably more complex than usual. Before filing in one of these states for divorce it is crucial that an experienced lawyer be consulted to understand how best to navigate through the process and any requirements which must be fulfilled before receiving a decree of divorce.