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History of Divorce

Know The History of Divorce Law

Know The History of Divorce Law


Many scholars agree that the central premise of divorce law came from religious practice and belief, more than any type of governmental decrees. Once nation-states began to recognize national religions that held specific views on the role of divorce laws, certain societal beliefs and mores towards the institution of marriage changed. Many ancient civilizations allowed couples to split and divorce laws essentially did not exist. 

After widespread conversion to Catholicism throughout much of the world, divorce laws preventing this practice became commonplace, eventually removing the idea of divorce all together. In this light, Western civilizations sparked the creation of many divorce laws and made the practice an abomination. The idea of divorce was replaced with church-initiated 

As secular leaders began to pop up in many areas of Europe after medieval times and the Protestant Reformation, the intensity of divorce law decreased once again, allowing individuals to divorce. The United Kingdom eventually became one of the first Western civilizations that created divorce law permitting specific regulations and allowances. 

Some of the first settlers in America rejected much of the new secular practice spreading across Europe and sought to reimburse themselves in old-fashioned practices. Puritanism rejected any form of divorce under any banner, and essentially formed the first American divorce laws. Contact a divorce lawyer for legal advice and assistance.

Modern divorce law did not come into practice until at least the 1950's and it was still viewed as an ill of society.

Divorce laws are commonly known to have descended from church doctrine more than an original perception on lifelong marriage. The increase in divorce rates and weakening of divorce laws continued till modern day, with divorce representing a more legal determination than religious one. Many continue to hold on to the religious importance of marriage and fight against the ease at which individuals can separate under current divorce law. 

Inclusion of No Fault Overview

Inclusion of No Fault Overview

When divorce reform first began to take place in America, couples still had to have grounds for divorce. In fact, spouses that wanted to file for divorce often could not obtain a legal divorce if there were no grounds for divorce. In many instances, couples had to prove that one spouse was guilty of violating the marriage contract. In fact, many couples took action to prove such accusations, in the absence of any fact. 


Many times, couples would invent scenarios in which there was an appearance of spousal violation of the marriage contract. For example, spouses would make it appear that one spouse had been caught cheating when in fact, they had not done so. It could be embarrassing for the 'guilty' spouse, but couples often had no choice. In order to avoid necessitating perjury, judges found it necessary to introduce no-fault divorce. A no-fault divorce was granted in cases where couples simply could not live together happily. Couples could simply attest to the fact that there were irreconcilable differences.


In order to gain respect for the court room, judges sought to allow couples to divorce in the absence of inventing grounds for divorce. No-fault divorces were meant to be utilized by couples that wished to remain amicable but simply did not wish to remain married. By the early 1980's, no-fault divorces were legally allowed in almost every state. While each state continues to have its own laws regarding no-fault divorces, the rules are generally quite liberal for couples that wish to end their marriage. 


While couples can still utilize divorces in which there are grounds for divorce, most couples hope to avoid the court battles that generally ensue. No-fault divorces allow couples to avoid lengthy legal battles which are generally about punishment based on accusations in the absence of fact. In reality, many courts will award larger percentages or property and spousal support to 'innocent' spouses involved in contested divorces. Whereas, no-fault divorces generally include a mutually beneficial distribution of marital assets. In fact, couples that takes part in a no-fault divorce generally work together to come to their divorce agreement. 


Many couples involved in a no-fault divorce are able to avoid spending large amounts of money on lawyer’s fees. Also, no-fault divorces allow couples to avoid perjuring themselves in court, which would contribute to a false divorce record that would be available to the public. In fact, no-fault divorces allow families to remain close together because of the lack of conflict involved in the divorce.


Divorces that can be granted in the absence of legal battles are often better for the involved family. Primarily, children will not have to be brought into the court room; parents grow accustom to working things out together, which will help them continue to raise their children in the best manner possible. Before no-fault divorce, spouses were sometimes unable to divorce unless they made false accusations against each other. 


This was often difficult for couples and frequently led to feelings of guilt and depression. The advent of the no-fault divorce allowed couples to exercise their individual rights to divorce, while interacting amicably.

Understanding The Prejudice Against Women in Divorce

Understanding The Prejudice Against Women in Divorce

The disbursement of assets and custody based both on equality, as well as the nature of indiscretions is a modern trend in the process of filing for divorce. An even more modern trend is the advent of no-fault divorce, which allows spouses to split with little worry to the reasons for the fissure. Historically, women maintained no inherent interest in the estate and earnings of their husbands and upon a request of annulment, no matter for what reason, or how rare this request would be, they would lose any and all rights in relation to his holdings.


Marriage in the Western world became a legal basis predicated on religious mores and belief. Although an annulment of marriage was not hard to achieve, the social underpinnings, except for in extreme situations, made actual divorce a rare practice. Secular leadership began to push throughout Europe not long after the Protestant Reformation, calling for marital reform across the board.


Although divorce settlements became easier to obtain, the decision rested with the man due to the economic sustenance they provided women. A common fear of women seeking divorces resulted from their perceived inability to pursue a divorce in any logical realm. Until true divorce reform occurred during the mid-nineteenth century, women maintained no rights in marriage. They lost all their possessions to their husbands and maintained no legal entitlement to their children. After this point, divorces could still only claim basis in adulterous husbands and women still claimed no recourse against horrendous abuse and neglect.


In America, not until the mid-20th century did true marital and divorce reform occur. At this point women finally maintained certain rights in regard to employment and wage-holding eventually leading to further recourse in divorces. At this point, claims regarding wrong-doing in marriage required evidence and the plaintiff maintained the burden of proof in divorces. Many states held onto this doctrine continuing to base the law surrounding divorces on former ideas based on religious practice more than proper handling of jurisprudence. 


Not until the feminist movement took hold and the pressures on divorce reform became irrefutable did any form of no fault divorce emerge. In part, this change was due to inconsistent practices between the states, where a married couple could wed in New York but then be forced to divorce in Nevada because of institutional emphasis on the sanctity of marriage more than the logistics of disagreement. 


Modern arguments over the nature of divorce and the attacks on marriage appear unwarranted in response to the legal ramifications of the institutions. The legal separation of individuals that wish it so cannot remain forced into cohabitation because of another belief in the necessity of marriage. Increase in divorces may represent a troublesome progression, but rather than stamping out the possibility, education concerning the reality of marriage at the forefront appears more logical.

Prevalence and Implications of Divorce in Early America

Prevalence and Implications of Divorce in Early America

The reported rate of divorce statistics throughout history in America, are often unreliable. In fact, divorce statistics show an indication that spouses were often able to escape any court orders that resulted from divorce, by simply moving to a new location where no one knew of their spouse's attempt at divorce. In addition, divorce statistics for early America are often unreliable due in part, to an inability to keep accurate records on the subject because of many intervening factors. 


Many couples separated and even remarried in the absence of a legal divorce. Yet, it has been reported that divorce rates in early America showed that less than 5% of all marriages ended before the death of one of the spouses in question. The rate of divorce in America has held steady at about 50% since the early 1980's, in accordance with an ease in divorce restrictions, the rate of divorce has continued to increase.


Throughout history, the ability to obtain a legal divorce depended largely on whether marriage was viewed as a civil union, or as a religious sacrament. To this day, organized religions generally look poorly upon couples that divorce, while other members of society view it as a basic right. However, divorce is currently much more commonplace than it had been in the past. It is also much more widely accepted by society and even by some religions. In early American history, divorce statistics are at times difficult to decipher. 


Yet, it is obvious that the rate of divorces that were legally obtained was relatively low. In the late eighteen hundreds, the divorce rate seems to have been about 5 percent, as compared to the current rate of about 50 percent. In fact, many sociologists blame the large change in divorce statistics on the acceptance of no fault divorce. In early American history, spouses had to prove that there was a blatant and severe violation of the marriage contract in order to be granted a divorce. 


Even then, only the innocent spouse was likely to be freed from the marriage contract. In addition, the guilty spouse was frequently found to have fled to avoid having any further responsibility to the innocent spouse. It was very difficult to keep track of people and their movements, and many divorced couples never saw each other again. In fact, there was no uniform standard for finding guilty spouses and enforcing court orders. It was quite easy for guilty spouses to avoid taking responsibility for their actions which allegedly caused the termination of the marriage contract. Innocent spouses were often forced to start over on their own and often found them destitute.


The rate of divorce has increased significantly due to a decrease in restrictions that were previously in place for divorce. In the past, spouses that were able to divorce had to prove that their spouse had violated the marriage contract. As time went on, divorce restrictions were continuously eased and the rate of divorce increased, while the rate of marriages continued to decrease. In addition, the rights of divorcing spouses have been recognized in a more uniform fashion. In fact, any spouse that violates a court order will likely find themselves facing penalties for such actions. In the past, spouses wishing to avoid responsibility simply had to move to a new location.

What Are The Divorce Restrictions in Early America

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.