New York is being pressured to do just the opposite. They are considering whether or not to ease up on their divorce laws. Currently, NY remains the only state in the US without a no-fault divorce law. California was the first state to adopt no-fault divorce proceedings in 1969 and since then all other states except NY have followed California’s example. A no-fault divorce law allows couples to divorce quickly and without much legal expense. Click here for the full story.
With the almost nationwide implementation of no-fault divorce came a sharp increase in the rate of divorce. No-fault divorce laws give greater legal rights to a spouse who wants to end the marriage than to the spouse who wants to try to work out their marital problems. The primary purpose of no-fault divorce law is to empower whichever party wants out, with the least possible fuss and the greatest possible speed–no questions asked. No fault divorce does not differentiate between forty weeks or forty years of marriage, making it easier to divorce a spouse of forty years than to fire an employee of one month.
Contrary to what had been promoted as one of the positive aspects of no-fault divorce, it did not take the acrimony out of the divorce process; no-fault law simply shifted the conflict into protracted property and custody battles. By gutting the marital contract, no-fault divorce has literally transformed the meaning of marriage. The legal innovation of unilateral divorce assisted in the reduction of marriage to nothing but a temporary association of individuals. Unfortunately, a society that accepts unilateral divorce is a society that is willing to sacrifice the welfare of children to the comfort and happiness of adults. Couples are now joined under the new dispensation to marry “for as long as you both shall love” with little or no regard for the harm visited upon family members, especially children, left in the lurch when the marriage is dissolved.
New York would do well to learn from the mistakes of the rest of the country.