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Are some states worse than others when it comes to divorce?

When it comes to the divorce process, people might think that the laws governing the dissolution of marriage are relatively uniform with just a few minor exceptions across the 50 states. While it's certainly understandable how people might believe this given that the ultimate outcome of divorce proceedings is indeed the same, the fact remains that divorce varies quite differently from state to state.

Indeed, the process varies to such an extent that some parties may strategically choose to file in one state over another due to the potential advantages offered by that's state's divorce laws.

Interestingly, one New York-based family law attorney recently identified what he believes to be the seven worst states for divorce after conducting a comprehensive examination of information from state legislatures, state bar associations and the U.S. Census Bureau.

While this is really nothing more than one person's educated opinion, it does raise some very interesting points regarding such issues as filing fees, waiting periods, etc. As such, we'll take a look at four of the more geographically diverse states:

  • Nebraska: The Midwestern state identified as the worst for divorce, Nebraska has a filing fee of $157, a waiting period of up to 420 days, and a one-year residency requirement plus a cooling-off period of two months.
  • California: The West Coast state identified as the worst for divorce, California has a filing fee of $395, a waiting period of up to 360 days, and a six-month post-filing cooling-off period.
  • New York: The East Coast state identified as the worst for divorce, New York has a filing fee of $335, a waiting period of up to 360 days, and a six-month marital breakdown requirement.
  • Arkansas: The southern state identified as the worst for divorce, Arkansas has a filing fee of $165, a waiting period of up to 540 days, and a mandatory 18-month period of separation that can be reset by any type of cohabitation.

While it may come as a bit of a relief that Minnesota wasn't listed among the seven states, it should nevertheless be noted that reports like these shouldn't serve to dissuade anyone from exploring the possibility of filing for divorce -- regardless of their location. The truth is that everyone's situation is different and that taking the time to speak with an experienced legal professional can provide some much-needed clarity.

Source: ABC News, "Top 7 worst states for divorce," Aug. 6, 2014 

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