Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

NO FAULT DIVORCE HAS BEEN A DISASTER FOR 46 YEARS


NO FAULT DIVORCE HAS BEEN A DISASTER FOR 46 YEARS
By Domenick j. Maglio PhD

Today a spouse can unilaterally dissolve a marriage without consent of the other spouse and without penalty. Since the adoption of no-fault divorce in California in 1969 and then throughout the nation marriage has lost its moral sanction and legal power. Presently marriage is the only type of contract where one of the parties, in this case a spouse, can nullify it without penalty.

Before no-fault divorce a married person had to prove the other spouse was unfit to remain in this binding sanctioned contract. Cruelty, adultery abandonment and the inability to have sexual intercourse were some grounds to end a marriage. As happens in most legal disputes people often lie to obtain the results they desire.

When trying to obtain a divorce, bickering and dishonesty tie up the courts. No-fault divorce was supposed to expedite clearing of the court docket. It did but went to the other extreme. Divorce became as simple as a $129 payment to a paralegal to terminate almost any marriage. The commitment to joining “until death do us part” became a meaningless ritual, a joke in the eyes of the law.

Not having to assign fault to either spouse was supposed to limit the need for perjury and demonizing of the other spouse. The change from establishing fault to no-fault was also supposed to eliminate these issues and lower the divorce rate. It didn’t. It just moved the blame game from the court directly to the home where the innocent children are dealing with parents that blame each other for everything. They often use every manipulative ploy they know, including lies, to win the favor of their children.

When the states adopted no-fault the divorce rate soared even though in 80% of marriages one spouse did not want to end the marriage. This change in the law had minimal impact on childless couples but a horrific one on marriages with children. 
Children of divorced parents often hear each parent bad-mouth the other and receive bribes to favor them.  They face different rules and expectations in each parent’s home. Often new parent relationships with others are thrust upon the child forcing him to confront social and emotional issues before being emotionally mature enough to deal with them.

Children of divorced parents suffer from the death of their family. The psychological effect of the child blaming himself for the divorce, the lowering of the family standard of living and the unhinging their structure and stability would be destructive for any child.  This takes its toll on children even when they have loving and conscientious divorced parents. Divorce is hell for children since they have no voice in the parent’s decision.

The no-fault divorce statute places the selfish interest of the individual spouse over that of the entire family. One spouse has the veto power to end the commitment to all the other family members without the approval of anyone else. This law has changed the marriage contract from a sacred one to a casual relationship of two people cohabitating until one decides to walk away.

The instituting of “no-fault divorce” has weakened marriage, the family and the fabric of America. The Bolsheviks were the first to facilitate divorce. They realized no-fault divorce would lead to the destabilization of the family making drastic changes to society more feasible.

The impact of no-fault divorce has been catastrophic. It has opened the floodgates to greater number of divorces but also has enticed many couples to skip marriage and go directly into living together. It has gutted the social and sacred obligation of raising healthy and successful adults for simply increasing the individual freedom of one spouse to do what he or she feels like doing at that moment. This is being done without considering the long-range consequences to others, foremost the children. It often causes a financial drain of resources that drops many females into poverty putting them on government assistance. It is increasing the chances of children having serious problems with mental disorders, the law, alcohol and drug issues and children out of wedlock.

There are some simple changes of the divorce laws that would bolster the institution of marriage, strengthening the family and society. By simply increasing the waiting period between filing for divorce and completing the process the rate of divorce has been significantly lowered.

In England and France there was a 5 or 6-year waiting period before divorce, which encouraged reconciliation between the couples. Until 2010 New York State was a “fault state” with a one-year waiting period. The change to “no-fault” in NY led to a significant increase in divorce. Currently some states require mandatory counseling courses before a divorce can be finalized. Other states decide which parent is the “reasonable-fit” parent. They receive 2/3 of the custody as well as 60-100% of the assets of the marriage. Just requiring both parents to consent to a no-fault divorce can lower divorce 50%.

The more a couple learns about the negative reality of most divorces the less likely they see divorce as a panacea. They begin to rely less on their feelings and more on rational thought when they know the results of divorce. Many dissatisfied couples realize they do not want to jump from the frying pan into the fire.



Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. You can visit Dr. Maglio at www.drmaglio.blogspot.com.













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