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Registration and recognition are functions of states, localities, or employers; such unions may be available to couples of the same sex and, sometimes, opposite sex.
Marriages can be terminated by annulment, divorce or death of a spouse.
Divorce (known as dissolution of marriage in some states) laws vary by state, and address issues such as how the two spouses divide their property, how children will be cared for, and support obligations of one spouse toward the other.
In the last 50 years, divorce has become more prevalent.
Augustine (Spanish Florida), is the first known and recorded Christian marriage anywhere in what is now the continental United States. President John Adams wrote in his diary that the ideal spouse was willing to "palliate faults and mistakes, to put the best construction upon words and actions, and to forgive injuries." While about 96% of residents in their 70s and 80s were married at least once, many were widowed due to the death of their spouses.
When the country was founded in the eighteenth century, marriage between whites and non-whites was largely forbidden due to the racist attitudes of the time. Supreme Court struck down remaining interracial marriage laws nationwide, in the case Loving v. Expectations of a marriage partner have changed over time. In addition, a large portion of middle-aged Americans are either divorced, legally separated, or informally separated.