Divorce (or the dissolution of marriage) is the termination of a marital union, the dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law. Divorce should not be confused with annulment, which declares the marriage null and void or with legal separation (a legal process by which a married couple may formalize a de facto separation while remaining legally married).
The legal process of divorce may involve issues of maintenance (formerly known as alimony), child custody, child visitation/parenting time, child support, distribution of property, and division of debt. Divorce can be a stressful experience: affecting finances, living arrangements, household jobs, schedules, parenting and the outcomes of children of the marriage as they face each stage of development from childhood to adulthood. If the family includes children, they may be deeply affected.