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Don't mess around with messing around; it's illegal in 21 states

The Huffington Post has published its list of the "best" states for divorce. The state of Washington ranked fifth based on ease of filing and filing fee. Washington also has no residency requirement. On HuffPost's scale of 1 to 100, with 100 being the easiest, we earned a 91.

The state has lowered most barriers to divorce over the years. The Huffington Post's analysis shows, too, that our divorce rate is about 10 per 1,000, hovering in the middle of the pack. Shedding out-of-date requirements apparently has not landed us in one of the top spots. Alaska, the easiest state to divorce in, also has the highest divorce rate (14 per 1,000).

Perhaps the best example of outdated rules is the "fault divorce." One spouse had to accuse the other of some wrongdoing before he or she could file. While fault divorce still exists in some states, every state now has "no-fault" divorce. One spouse or both must say that the marriage is irretrievably broken to provide sufficient grounds for the split.

Some vestiges of the fault system are still on the books in some states. For example, adultery is actually a crime in 21 states. The law may be a carry-over from more conservative times rather than related at all to the marriage laws, but the effect is the same. If your spouse cheats on you in, for example, our neighbor state of Idaho, you could call the police and criminal charges could follow.

The penalties may be enough of a deterrent, if the state's residents are even aware of the law. We'll explain more in our next post.

Source: USA Today, "New Hampshire Senate votes to repeal anti-adultery law," Jolie Lee, April 17, 2014Huffington Post, "The 5 Best And Worst States For Getting A Divorce," April 15, 2014

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