Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Monday, August 30, 2010

No fault?

When I wrote about monogamy, I hadn't intended to extend the subject but then I read this: No fault divorce and my fight to save my marriage and thought it presented yet another side.

Some believe gay marriage is what has ruined marriage in our country but that's ridiculous. That is simply two people in love and seeking to form a family. But what about no fault divorce? Should divorce be harder to get or easier? Does the state have a stake in maintaining even marriages where one party wants out?

A few years ago I read Mike Huckabee and his wife had a commitment ceremony (I think) and signed a legal agreement in Arkansas that said they could not get a divorce, that their marriage really meant until death do you part. I thought then how silly because who was going to force them to get a divorce if they didn't want one? However, the issue here is that what if one partner wants a divorce and the other does not?

Now personally, if I was married to someone who said he wanted a divorce, I'd not do anything to stop it and would actually help it happen. I cannot imagine wanting to be with anyone who did not want to be with me. The lady who wrote that article though felt otherwise. She saw it as for her children's sake and maybe even thinking her husband would someday change his mind.

Some, however, (she was one) make the case that the state itself should make divorces more difficult to get, not easier. Is this something the government should do? Our country does promote monogamy legally. Today only a few states still consider adultery to be a felony but it can be enforced in say like Arizona if someone wants to do it.

What do you think should divorce be harder to get? Was no fault a bad idea?


Paul said...

Adultery should not be a felony. It is a moral question, but that is another matter. No fault divorce ? Divorce usually results from the fault of one or both of the parties. I also think that if over 50% of American marriages fail then something goes wrong in the process.

Parapluie said...

The legal right to refuse to grant a divorce was exercised as vengence against a partner more often than a sincere attempt to keep the family together. The author of the article did not give enough of her personal information for me to determine that her real issue was her family's welfare. I think most likely the prolonged court fights were hard on her family. But economically she might be able to use her plight to sell articles and develop a career.

As for the cultural impact of divorce, the tax payers must be paying big time for welfare to broken families.

TaraDharma said...

The argument goes that it is in the state's interest to promote stable marriages. It's good for the economy, it's good for the raising of children. In California, if you get divorced, support checks automatically come out of wages before they are paid out -- this is in the state's interest so the state does not bear the economic burden of the divorce.

I don't think the state should make it harder to divorce, however, just as I don't believe the state has any say in reproductive choice.

donna said...

My personal opinion is that we should make it harder to get married, not divorced. Make people actually think about what's involved instead of just making it easy to suddenly marry someone, especially if they are very young and haven't thought much about what marriage is really like. I think straight marriages should be subject to the same limitations as gay marriages, too. No differences.

In an ideal world what people do and how they handle their personal relationships is totally their own business. I wish we were all mature enough to handle that.

I think no fault is a needed thing. The business of finding fault or causes for divorce is an ugly thing, and we need to get beyond creating yet more problems when people get divorced.

Darlene said...

I think Donna has it right. Couples should have counseling ( as the Catholic church requires) to slow things down and cool the raging hormones that so ofter result in a hasty marriage. They need to decide the issues that often tear a marriage apart; do they want children, how many, who handles the money, is one a saver and one a spendthrift? How about the in-laws; is that going to be a problem?

Before no fault divorce laws the one who wanted the divorce had to prove a reason so lies were told and bitterness resulted. It was a boon for lawyers as they were the only ones to win in those caes.

If the marriage is broken it's time to move on and the woman who fought to save her marriage probably did a lot more harm to her children than if she had given up graciously.

Ashleigh Burroughs said...

My sister's ex refused to sign the "get" which would have allowed her to remarry within the Jewish faith. She never felt truly divorced until a rabbi shamed him into signing the document. It was not "I love her and I want to keep our family together" at all. Rather, it was yet another of the power plays which led to the divorce in the first place.

Forcing someone to stay in a relationship is like forcing someone to stay in a job -- slavery comes to mind.

Wow. I had no idea how strongly I felt on this, Rain. Thanks for the poke.

Anonymous said...

Divorce is about control !

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I think marriage should be harder to get. It is too easy now and that is partly why there are so many divorces, in my opinion. I don;t know how you would ebforce that exactly, but to me, that is where the fault is....Make it a lot harder to ger married and then maybe we wouldn't be reading about such a high divorce rate.

And as far as 'no fault', I think it is a better way to go, too, as far as divorce is concerned. If it ain't workin'...don't make people have to lie about why.

Annie said...

I agree with TaraDharma and donna. I think it is complicated, one size does not fit all, the state has an interest in ensuring positive outcomes for children but forcing couples to stay married is not necessarily a positive outcome. And prevention is always better than prohibition in the long term, making it harder to get married is probably a good idea.

Annotated Margins said...

Love, sex, marriage, divorce... they're all personal things, not political or religious things.

The problem with divorce is the involvement of children. They are the only losers in a divorce.