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What Are The Divorce Restrictions in Early America

What Are The Divorce Restrictions in Early America

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What Are The Divorce Restrictions in Early America

In Colonial America, couples that attempted filing for divorce often faced a difficult road due to divorce restrictions. However, the American Revolution brought great changes for couples that wished to legally dissolve their marriages. By the early nineteenth century, divorces were granted in almost every state. However, divorce restrictions were still governed on a state by state basis. Divorce restrictions in many states, were eased in a sudden fashion unknowable by many historians.

 

In Colonial America, filing for divorce was a very uncommon practice. In fact, even those that took part in filing for divorce often found that they would still be legally married after the attempt. Spouses had to prove that there was some cruelty involved in the marriage in order to have a divorce even considered. After the American Revolution, couples were able to get divorced if adultery could be proven as fact. 

 

Yet, each state still had its own divorce restrictions in place. For example, some states required that there was proof of adultery, cruelty, abuse, or abandonment for a certain length of time. Generally, only the innocent party would be legally freed from the marriage contract and the guilty party would continue to be unable to get remarried. In fact, the guilty party would only be allowed to remarry upon the death of the innocent party. In some states, the courts ruled on divorce cases and in others, the state legislature had to make decisions that pertained to each couples filing for divorce.

 

In the end of the nineteenth century, couples found that divorces were granted on a much broader scale. In fact, filing for divorce became much easier as divorce restrictions were eased across the United States. Divorce restrictions began to be seen as much more liberal and they were significantly less restrictive than they had been in the past. However, the number of divorces remained fairly low, especially when compared to recent divorce statistics. However, couples were now allowed to divorce for a variety of reasons and the amount of proof required for divorce was very minimal. 

 

In order to prove grounds for divorce, couples need only attest to the fact that their spouse had broken the marriage contract. In fact, historians are still unable to explain the drastic and quick easement on divorce restrictions. Filing for divorce had become much simpler, basically overnight. There are many theories as to why these changes took place, but no one is certain.

 

Filing for divorce has become simpler throughout history. Couples are now able to take part in no-fault divorces. In the past, couples had to prove that there were grounds for divorce, which included adultery, abuse, or abandonment. However, couples wishing to divorce now need only show that they have irreconcilable differences and can no longer live together happily. In the past, spouses generally had to prove that their partner was guilty of misconduct that was so severe, that they could no longer remain married to them; as society's general opinion of marriage changes, their opinion of divorce does, as well.


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