No-fault divorce could be at risk

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2023 | Divorce |

No-fault divorce or “dissolution of marriage” as it is called in California means marriages can be terminated without wrongdoing being assigned to either party. In fact, in addition to meeting a residency requirement, you’re only required to present one of two available legal grounds for marital dissolution: irreconcilable differences or permanent legal incapacity (incurable insanity) of a spouse as substantiated by a medical expert.

It wasn’t always this way. Soon after American independence and through the 19th century and the better half of the 20th century, fault-based divorce was the only way a marriage could be terminated. Over time, though, this was not seen as being in the public interest, and there was a push for reform.

California led the way. In 1969, Governor Ronald Reagan signed the Family Law Act, and no-fault divorce became a reality. This launched a legal revolution, with all 50 states following suit in some form over the next four decades.

Researchers who’ve studied the emergence of no-fault laws across the country assert that the reform led to substantially decreased rates of domestic violence, spousal homicide of women, and female suicide.

Recent rumblings

As reported in Rolling Stone, Republicans across the country are pushing back, moving to reintroduce fault-based divorce. In Texas, the Republican party, which controls both houses in the state legislature and holds the offices of governor, secretary of state and attorney general, last year on its platform called for an end to no-fault divorce. Related proposals are being floated in Louisiana and Nebraska, and right-wing pundits are increasingly joining the cause.