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No Fault Divorce Essay

2073 words - 9 pages

Country music performer, Pam Tillis sang about divorce, "Mary was married with children, had the perfect suburban life. Until her husband came clean with the help of Jim Beam and confessed all his sins one night. He said he'd fallen in love with a barmaid. He said that she made him feel reckless and young. And when he was through what else could she do..." Nothing, there is nothing she could do about it. Since its introduction in 1969, no-fault divorce allows man or woman to fall out of love on a whim. Leaving the sacred vows promised in front of God and witnesses mean nothing.Divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage (Webster's, 1996: 420). Divorce has been around as long as the ...view middle of the document...

An uncontested, or no-fault divorce, is one in which both parties agree to the divorce and the terms of the settlement, without going to trial. This does not mean that there are no arguments or disputes between the spouses. It simply means that the spouses were able to reach an agreement without going to court and having the judge rule one way or the other. Uncontested divorces move much faster through the court system and are therefore less expensive. In addition, by bypassing the lengthy litigation and trial process, an uncontested divorce typically leads to reduced hostility and resentment among the ex-spouses.No-fault divorce laws were passed not as the result of any popular clamor or following any public debate but largely for the benefits of divorce practitioners. In the 1950's through the mid-1960's divorce rates remained steady with approximately 400,000 per year. But by 1965 the number of divorces jumped to 479,000 per year. By 1975, the number of divorces exceeded one million per year. The national divorce rate peaked in 1980 when there were 1,189,000 divorces granted (National Center for health Statistics, 2003). This phenomenon made it necessary for the courts to find a solution to its overcrowded and clogged system. No-fault divorce laws made it possible to never set foot in a courtroom and be granted a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences."The social-conflict paradigm is a framework for building theory that sees society as an arena of inequality that generates conflict and change", (Macionis, 2003: 12). This theory was developed by sociologists to not just understand society but also to reduce inequality. This theory is limited as it defines only in broad categories.The key factor of inequality created by no-fault divorce is social cost. This cost includes the emotional status of the spouse who is being divorced and the burden society must carry for families who are broken. On April 17, 2001, in an open forum on Yahoo Discussion Board one woman wrote, "My husband, aged 57, has decided to divorce me. All of my hopes and dreams of spending our golden years together were smashed in an instant. After 37 years of marriage it was to be erased. My standard of living can never be reached again. Our laws see 4 months the same as 40 years."Current divorce laws do not differentiate between a woman who want to leave an abusive husband or a man who wants to trade-in and aging wife. The laws make no distinctions because no-faults primary purpose is to empower whichever spouse wants the divorce. Since it's beginning, no-fault divorce has been legislated and presented as an increase in personal choice.In most cases divorce is not a mutual act but rather the choice of one partner alone. According to family scholars Andrew Cherlin and Frank Furstenberg, "We might expect that both partners would be ready to end the relationship by the time one leaves but the data suggest otherwise. Four out of five marriages ended unilaterally."...

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