No-Fault Divorce

Essay by tumblekerUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, November 2004

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Country music performer, Pam Tillis sang about divorce, "Mary was married with children, had the perfect suburban life. Until her husband came clean with the help of Jim Beam and confessed all his sins one night. He said he'd fallen in love with a barmaid. He said that she made him feel reckless and young. And when he was through what else could she do..." Nothing, there is nothing she could do about it. Since its introduction in 1969, no-fault divorce allows man or woman to fall out of love on a whim. Leaving the sacred vows promised in front of God and witnesses mean nothing.

Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage (Webster's, 1996: 420). Divorce has been around as long as the institution of marriage. Divorce has been through three major eras over the past two centuries; restricted divorce, divorce tolerance, and unrestricted divorce (Cherlin, 2002: 417-422).

The era of restricted divorce was prevalent in the western world until the mid-nineteenth century. Generally, divorce was permissible only in cases of adultery and abandonment and primarily allowed only to men. Divorce was rare in this time although a higher number of couples separated permanently without legally divorcing, compared to those who did divorce.

The mid-nineteenth century saw a change in divorce patterns. This period saw women being allowed to divorce their husbands. In fact, according to Andrew Cherlin, two-thirds of all divorces were initiated by women. In this period of divorce tolerance spouses had to prove their case in the grounds they alleged. This era lasted into the 1970's (Cherlin, 2002).

Today, the United States is in the era of unrestricted divorce. Since the early 1970's it is no longer necessary for a spouse to be at or prove fault (Cherlin, 2002). Anyone who wants to get divorced...