1. People & Relationships

The Issue of No-Fault Divorce

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Pros

  • States that adopted no-fault laws saw a decline in the rates of domestic violence.
  • These laws empower a man or woman in an abusive marriage and make it easier to leave.
  • Means less conflict during divorce, which means less emotional harm to children whose parents, are divorcing.
  • Helps reduce the heavy caseloads of family courts.
  • Shortens the length of time it takes to obtain a divorce, which, in turn, shortens the amount of time spent in a stressful situation.
  • Divorce settlements are based on need, ability to pay and contribution to the family finances, rather than on fault.
  • Cons

  • Over 80% of no-fault divorces are unilateral. This means that one party to the divorce objects to the marriage ending and no-fault laws take away that parties control over whether or not they can save their marriage.
  • Has given more power to Family Court Judges in deciding issues such as custody, splitting marital assets and spousal support. When there is no one at fault, a judge’s decisions are based on his feelings and feelings are not always objective.
  • Takes away a father’s rights to his children because they have no defense against a wife who wants to leave the marriage. Courts favor mothers and under the no-fault system it is hard to prove a mother unfit to parent.
  • The idea that marriage is a covenant larger than the two people who make it has been lost. Marriage vows and the promise made to each other during those vows have lost their value. This is evident in the high divorce rate in the United States.
  • Lowers a dependent wife’s living standards because she no longer has grounds to argue in her defense. Her husband can choose to leave her and 75% of the time the courts will not enforce any spousal support. Since the mother gets custody more often than the father this also means a lower standard of living for the children.
  • Where once the Family Court Systems allegiance was with the institution of marriage, it is now with the institution of divorce. Family Courts used to put effort into protecting the sanctity of marriage. Now the main concern is to make divorce quick and easy and get it off the docket.
  • Where It Stands

    Family Court Judge Randall Hekman said, "It is easier to divorce my wife of 26 years than to fire someone I hired one week ago. The person I hire has more legal clout than my wife of 26 years. That's wrong."

    If you look around, you will see daily evidence of the breakdown of the American family. Many believe this breakdown is due to no-fault divorce laws. They believe the value of marriage has lessened and because of this, spouses are no longer willing to invest as much energy into saving it.

    On the other hand, you have evidence like the 97% of married couples in Louisiana choosing to begin their marriages knowing they may one day have to deal with no-fault laws. Evidence that points to the fact that the majority of the couples have no problem with the no-fault laws.

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