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Different laws make divorce harder in some states than others

Divorce in Minnesota is tough, just like it is anywhere else. However, the laws dictating divorce and related issues such as child custody, spousal maintenance and property division can vary substantially from one state to the next.

In a recent ranking of the seven worst states for divorce, the Land of 10,000 Lakes was nowhere to be found -- which suggests that Minnesotans may be better off than some others when it comes time to end a marriage.

One factor that came up frequently in the ranking is the waiting period that is required before a divorce can be obtained. Many states require divorcing spouses to wait several months after filing before their marriages can be considered legally over, and some require couples to separate before they are even permitted to file for divorce.

These mandatory “cooling off” or “separation” periods can be frustrating, time consuming and even humiliating for divorcing couples who have no interest in reconciliation. Arkansas is an extreme example of such a state, with a minimum 18-month separation period required by law.

Residency requirements are another factor that can make some states more appealing than others for couples seeking to divorce. In Vermont, for example, a full year of residency is required before married spouses can become eligible for divorce.

Divorce tends to raise similar questions no matter where it occurs. For instance, how will parenting responsibilities be shared between the parents? Who will keep the home? Will one spouse be entitled to alimony? However, the answers to these questions can vary greatly depending on the laws of the state where the divorce is granted. If you have questions about your rights and legal options during divorce, be sure to talk things over with a family law attorney in your area.

Source: ABC News, "Top 7 Worst States for Divorce," Aug. 6, 2014

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