In the simplest terms, a divorce is the ending of a marriage while both spouses are still living. But the truth of the matter is that divorce and legal separation are often anything but simple.
A divorce accomplishes several basic things. First, and most simply, the legal bond between husband and wife is dissolved. Second, the assets and debts of the marriage are distributed between the spouses. Third, child custody is determined in families with children. And, finally, support payments may be ordered – either child support or spousal support (also called maintenance or alimony, depending on the jurisdiction).