Divorce (or the dissolution of marriage) is the final termination of a marital union, cancelling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties (unlike annulment, which declares the marriage null and void). Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, but in most countries it requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process. The legal process of divorce may also involve issues of alimony (spousal support), child custody, child support, distribution of property, and division of debt. In most countries monogamy is required by law, so divorce allows each former partner to marry another; where polygyny is legal but polyandry is not, divorce allows the woman to marry a new husband.
Like every major life change, divorce can be a stressful experience. It affects finances, living arrangements, household jobs, schedules and more. If the family includes children, they may be deeply affected.