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No Fault Divorce Under Fire

By the end of the 1970’s, no fault divorce was available in every state. Once considered a major civil rights victory, thirty years later some states and organizations are trying to end no fault divorces.

Against no fault divorce
Surprisingly, religious extremists, who would end all legal forms of divorce if they could, are not the only group coming out against no fault divorce. On the other end of the spectrum some feminists, who originally supported the option, now feel that no fault divorce hurts women more than it helps them.

After a divorce, women’s disposable income falls an average of 70% while men’s rise by 40%. Even today it is common for women to quit their jobs and support their husbands’ careers by being homemakers. When men initiate divorce in these situations wives are at a financial disadvantage. A no fault divorce allows both parties to agree to the divorce without court scrutiny, and since these women cannot afford an attorney, the divorce often results in unfair and inadequate support.  

The latest argument against no fault divorce involves the gay marriage issue. Some people believe that no fault divorce legislation has destroyed the sanctity of marriage, emboldening homosexuals to make a stand for their right to take part in the union. Ironically, gay marriages have a significantly higher rate of success than heterosexual marriages at this time.

Of course the most common argument against no fault divorce is original argument that no fault divorce makes divorce easier and more appealing, removes the incentive to save the relationship, contributes to the breakdown of marriages and families, and is harmful to children and society.

Support for no fault divorce
Unhappy marriages, especially abusive marriages, are very unhealthy environments for rearing children. While an abused spouse can legally cite abuse as the grounds for divorce, in reality many are too intimidated to pursue this course of action, fearing retribution, and abuse can be difficult to prove.

Divorces where fault must be proven or admitted by one parent can be psychologically damaging to children. Ugly court battles, mudslinging between parents, and the various methods used to prove fault all have a negative impact on children. Even in situations where one spouse willingly admits fault, children must deal with the fact that one parent has committed an offense such as having an affair.

It is reasonable to assume that most couples will not stay together simply to avoid blame. Repealing no fault divorce laws will simply encourage people to lie to the courts in order to obtain a divorce.

In cases where spouses agree that one will admit to a non-existent offense, parents are faced with either lying to their children as well as the courts or with making their children understand why they lied to the court, all of which can be very confusing and disturbing.

No fault divorce can protect spouses from being falsely accused and from the great lengths that some spouses will go to, that would cause harm, just to obtain a divorce. In some cases, fault can significantly impact property division and spousal support. No fault divorce allows for an amicable agreement made between both parties avoiding painful and expensive court battles.

Arguments for and against no fault divorce both have merit. Clearly improvements should be made in order to ensure fair and equitable divorce settlements, while protecting individual rights to personal choice.

If you are considering or facing divorce, talk to an experienced divorce lawyer today.

 
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