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The terms of the divorce are usually determined by the court, though they may take into account prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, or simply ratify terms that the spouses may have agreed to privately.In the absence of agreement, a contested divorce may be stressful to the spouses and lead to expensive litigation.However, there are ways (defenses) to prevent a fault divorce: A defense is expensive, and not usually practical as eventually most divorces are granted.
Prior to the latter decades of the 20th century, a spouse seeking divorce in most states had to show a "fault" such as abandonment, cruelty, incurable mental illness, or adultery. In populous New York State, where adultery was the easiest grounds for divorce, attorneys would provide a package consisting of a prostitute and a photographer, with whose product divorce could be obtained. In 1975, 71.4% of the cases were filed by women, and in 1988, 65% were filed by women.
For example, couples who choose to undertake a covenant marriage may be required to undergo counseling before a divorce can be granted, or to submit their conflicts to mediation.