ending of a marriage before the death of either spouse. A divorce must
be certified by a court of law, as a legal action is needed to dissolve
the prior legal act of marriage. In recent years, however, more federal
legislation has been enacted affecting the rights and responsibilities
of divorcing spouses. For example, federal welfare reform mandated the
creation of child support guidelines in all 50 states in the 1980s.
ERISA includes provisions for the division of qualified retirement
accounts between divorcing spouses. The IRS established rules on the
deductibility of alimony, and federal bankruptcy laws prohibit
discharging in bankruptcy of alimony and child support obligations.
COBRA allows a divorced spouse to obtain and maintain health insurance.
The laws of the state(s) of residence at the time of divorce govern, not
those of the location where the couple was married. All states recognize
divorces granted by any other state. All states impose a minimum time of
residence, Nevada currently being the shortest at 6 weeks.