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Rockland & Westchester County Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > Is No-Fault Divorce Under Attack in the United States?

Is No-Fault Divorce Under Attack in the United States?


For much of American history, getting a divorce was difficult. Some states outright banned the practice entirely. Others required a spouse to prove to the court that their spouse had done something wrong to cause the breakdown of the marriage. It wasn’t until 1969 that California became the first state to permit “no-fault” divorces. Today, every state in the country allows no-fault divorces with some states doing completely away with fault-based divorces.

What is a no-fault divorce? It doesn’t mean that a spouse did nothing wrong during the marriage. Instead, it means that one spouse claims that the marriage is irretrievably broken. This is better known as “irreconcilable differences.” Neither spouse has to state why they’re divorcing the other. Neither spouse must blame the other for the breakdown of the marriage.

However, fast-forward to 2023, and conservative political pundit Stephen Crowder is on the air expressing outrage and disbelief that his wife could divorce him without his consent. Today, the issue of no-fault divorce is a hot-button issue in many red states across the country. 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. Both Texas and Nebraska have proposed limiting no-fault divorce as part of their Republican Party platforms. The matter was recently debated by Louisiana lawmakers as well.

What is the purpose of getting married?

 Why did you marry your spouse? Was it for love? If so, then falling out of love with your spouse is a good reason to get divorced. However, traditionally, marriage had little or nothing to do with love. Couples were often engaged in arranged partnerships having little or no contact with their future spouses before being thrust into a living situation together.

Today, the notion of an arranged marriage is absurd. It’s something that happens in other countries. Nonetheless, for the majority of American history, marriage was more like a business transaction than a romantic coupling.

Historians refer to marriage for legal and economic benefits as the “marital bargain.” However, as early as the late 1800s, this traditional approach to marriage began to wane. In modern times, people marry for love. By the 20th century, Americans went from encouraging the marital bargain to viewing it as harmful. Today, some conservatives are pushing back on that notion and attempting to reinstate policies from long ago to limit who can pursue a no-fault divorce.

If love is the reason for getting married, then falling out of love is a good reason for getting a divorce. Nonetheless, our reasons for marrying have changed over time. With that has come the proliferation of divorce. Not everyone agrees on what the goals of marriage are. No-fault divorce is a reflection of the belief that love is the primary reason for marriage. If marriage is a contract for benefits, however, then falling out of love is no reason to get divorced.

Talk to a Rockland County Divorce Lawyer Today 

The Law Offices of Robert S. Sunshine represents the interests of divorcing couples in Westchester County. Call our Westchester County family law attorneys today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your next steps right away.



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