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Divorce is a difficult decision and because of the tremendous emotional burden that often accompanies divorce it is important to separate and consider the legal ramifications of a divorce. Many states have enacted what is called no-fault divorce statutes. This is a response to outdated common law divorce which required proof in a court of law by the divorcing party that the divorcee had done one of several enumerated things as sufficient grounds for the divorce. This entailed proving that the spouse had committed adultery, or some other unsavory act. No-fault divorce eliminates this potentially embarrassing and undesirable requirement by providing for the dissolution of a marriage on a finding that the relationship is no longer viable.

You should consider hiring an attorney even if you think that you and your spouse will agree on all aspects of the settlement, since it will expedite court proceedings. Although it is possible for one party to have an attorney without the other party having one, it is not advisable. If your spouse hires an attorney and you decide to represent yourself, remember that your spouse's attorney only represents his or her interest, not yours. The attorney cannot represent both of you, since this creates a conflict of interests, which is a violation of the rules of professional conduct that all lawyers must follow.

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