Every so often one of my colleagues re-posts "The 5 Best And Worst States For Getting A Divorce" by Brittany Wong in The Huffington Post; based on, and referencing, the full charts titled "Compare Divorce and Family Laws" at findthebest.com. Lawyers' empty blogging for the sake of visibility and perceived expertise helps make this purported advice an enduring part of the conventional "wisdom" that well-meaning friends and those in the "helping professions" uncritically repeat to those beginning the divorce process.
The chart uses filing fees to gauge the cost of divorce. But filing fees range from the tens to the low hundreds of dollars, while the actual cost of divorce is somewhere in the five figures for most people, four figures for those with simple and amicable cases, and six figures for really hellish cases, which alas are not uncommon.
Then the chart takes the legal waiting periods, most of which are separation periods before a divorce is filed, and adds them to other procedurally required periods to get something called "processing time". Playing right into people's fantasy that a divorce is something that one simply registers with some kind of bureaucratic office which then takes care of "processing" it. That's one of the reasons people jump into divorce just as ignorantly and optimistically as they jump into marriage.
Actually, in a divorce, people have to either work out all the financial and child-related details of their separation, or have a court decide them in a trial -- and the litigation process that leads up to that can take from one to two years. Negotiation, on the other hand, can happen during physical separation, or ideally, before it. The faster you can go to court and start a case without having negotiated a complete agreement, the uglier and more expensive it can get, and the longer it might ultimately take. So what really matters is not what state you live in, but how simple your personal and economic lives are and whether the two spouses can work out a practical agreement on everything.
People facing divorce are so starved for useful information that they actually take such articles seriously. So this kind of throwaway journalism can do real damage.