Divorce (or the dissolution of marriage) is the final termination of a marital union, canceling 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 for divorce may also involve issues of spousal support, child custody, child support, distribution of property and division of debt. Where monogamy is law, divorce allows each former partner to marry another; where polygyny is legal but polyandry is not, divorce allows the woman to marry another.
Between 1971 and 2011, five European countries legalised divorce: Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Malta. This leaves two countries in the world—the Philippines and Vatican City—that do not have a civil procedure for divorce.
"Divorcing one's parents" is a term sometimes used to refer to emancipation of minors.
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