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Yet, what constitutes such a "breakdown" of the marriage is interpreted very differently from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, ranging from very liberal interpretations (e.g.
Netherlands) Separation constitutes a ground of divorce in some European countries (in Germany, e.g., a divorce is granted on the basis of a 1-year separation if both spouses consent, or 3-year separation if only one spouse consents).
In some jurisdictions one spouse may be forced to pay the attorney's fees of another spouse.
Laws vary as to the waiting period before a divorce is effective. However, issues of division of property are typically determined by the law of the jurisdiction in which the property is located.
In 2011, in the US, the Coalition for Divorce Reform was established, describing itself as an organization "dedicated to supporting efforts to reduce unnecessary divorce and promote healthy marriages." In some jurisdictions, the courts will seldom apply principles of fault, but might willingly hold a party liable for a breach of a fiduciary duty to his or her spouse (for example, see Family Code Sections 7 of the California Family Code).
Divorce should not be confused with annulment, which declares the marriage null and void; with legal separation or de jure separation (a legal process by which a married couple may formalize a de facto separation while remaining legally married) or with de facto separation (a process where the spouses informally stop cohabiting).
Countries that have relatively recently legalized divorce are Italy (1970), Portugal (1975), Brazil (1977), Spain (1981), Argentina (1987), Where it is seen as a contract, the refusal or inability of one spouse to perform the obligations stipulated in the contract may constitute a ground for divorce for the other spouse.
In contrast, in some countries (such as Sweden, divorce is purely no fault.
Before the late 1960s, nearly all countries that permitted divorce required proof by one party that the other party had committed an act incompatible to the marriage.
This was termed "grounds" for divorce (popularly called "fault") and was the only way to terminate a marriage.
Reasons for divorce vary, from sexual incompatibility or lack of independence for one or both spouses to a personality clash.