Women And No-Fault Divorce
International Women’s Day was celebrated last week, a day that acknowledges the inequities faced by women across the globe, and the battle to combat them. One area you may not have considered in terms of women’s powerlessness in American history involves those who were trapped in hopeless—even perilous marriages, with no way out.
Not so Long Ago
While it’s true that divorce in the 2020’s is nothing shocking, that has not always been the case. As recently as 50 years ago, when a person wished to divorce their partner, they were required to prove that their spouse was at fault in damaging the marriage—generally a result of cruelty or cheating. A judge had to sanction the split, and, in some states, the state legislature even had to sanction it.
When Divorce was Contested
The challenges of the system , along with ingrained inequities, made divorce out of reach for all but the wealthiest women for decades in this country. Since most women back in the day were homemakers who had little or no occasion to earn their own money, it left them unable to afford an attorney in the first place. Those who managed to file for divorce faced an intimidating system. When it came to a contested divorce, women often found themselves at a distinct disadvantage in that they were up against male attorneys and male judges who often came to the party with a conspicuously male viewpoint. In that mix women were forced to publicly air their dirty laundry—furnishing proof that their husbands were philanderers, drunks, or abusers. Fighting for standing in an almost certainly good-ol’-boys atmosphere made it probable that women would not get a fair shake in a divorce.
Introducing No-Fault Divorce
With the 1970’s came the women’s rights movement, along with no-fault divorce. Finally, there was a way to keep the intimate particulars of a marriage out of the divorce process, eliminating the most humiliating aspects of the process. Now anyone could simply request a divorce based on irreconcilable differences, and, assuming they had the financial wherewithal to do so, it could proceed through the court with little fanfare. Did it make a difference? Divorce statistics tell the story:
There was a 200 percent increase in divorce in the U.S. from 1960 to 1980;
While only 20 percent of marriages from the 1950’s resulted in divorce, that number jumped to 50 percent in the 1970’s.
Other Benefits of No-Fault Divorce
Besides making divorce easier, women have seen additional benefits from no-fault divorce. Studies imply that men who have the potential to become abusive are discouraged from acting violently because they know how easy it is for their wives to leave. Additionally, no-fault divorces gives women options and hope, lessening the likelihood of suicide. In all, no-fault divorce has led to more accessible, less expensive, and less stressful divorce across the country.
Your Advocate in Divorce
The dedicated and experienced Boca Raton divorce attorneys at WiseLieberman always advocate for our clients, working toward best possible outcomes for you. To discuss your situation, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.