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Are “No-Fault” Divorces Under Attack in America?

If you go back far enough in time, you’ll find that divorce laws are considerably different than they are today. Today, all states in the U.S. allow for “no-fault” divorces. No-fault divorce does not mean that neither spouse did anything wrong, it means you are allowed to dissolve your marriage based on the fact that you do not want to be in the marriage any longer. Traditionally, states required divorcees to state reasons for the breakdown of the marriage. For instance, cruelty, desertion, or adultery. Other states did not permit divorce at all.

In 1969, California became the first state in the country to permit no-fault divorces. Today, every state in the country allows for no-fault divorces, with New York being the last state to adopt no-fault divorce. However, a growing number of religious conservatives are challenging the rule that has held sway for nearly six decades. 

In 2023, the issue of no-fault divorce gained national attention when conservative pundit Stephen Crowder expressed outrage that his wife could divorce him without his consent. Now, more states are considering the question of no-fault divorce and whether or not it should be eliminated.

In January 2024, Oklahoma lawmaker Dusty Deevers proposed a bill to eliminate no-fault divorce and recommended “public shaming” of spouses who commit marital fault and subsequently divorce. Restricting or eliminating no-fault divorce is now a part of both the Texas and Nebraska Republican Party platforms and has also been debated in Louisiana. 

Is falling out of love with your partner a good reason to divorce?

Today, with the divorce rate as high as it is, many couples cite a “lack of love” or intimacy as their primary reason for ending the marriage. However, traditionally, marriage had little to do with love. Instead, it was a vehicle for producing and raising children. Recent studies show that children do better in households where both parents are married. Throughout most of U.S. history, love had little to do with marriage. Marriage was largely transactional, with historians referring to the matter as “the marital bargain.”

However, in the late 1800s, the idea of marriage as a transaction began to wane, and more couples espoused beliefs that people married for love. During this period, Americans went from encouraging the marital bargain to deciding it was harmful. This would herald major changes to the divorce system. However, it was begun by shifting cultural attitudes toward the purpose of marriage.

Today, that debate has been revived. While some Americans still believe that marriage is an expression of love, there is a growing desire to go back to a time when marriage was more of a financial transaction and an instrument for breeding and raising children. If you believe that marriage is for love, then falling out of love constitutes a breakdown of the marriage. 

Talk to a Danville, Indiana Divorce Lawyer Today

Regardless of your reasons for ending your marriage, Indiana law still permits couples to divorce without giving a reason for the breakdown of the marriage. The Indiana divorce lawyer, Chris Arrington, can represent your interests during divorce proceedings. Call our office today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help. 

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