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Old Today, 03:44 PM
73 posts, read 15,774 times
Reputation: 250


Originally Posted by Montana Griz View Post
....How did the gov't make it difficult to get divorced??????

I got married in 1954 and my late wife and I were going into our 52nd year of marriage when she passed away from cancer.......
I did have some friends that got divorced in the 1950s, and there was no gov't intervention in the proceedings........
Please elaborate on your statement........
By forcing people to justify their divorces, and if they were unable to justify them then they government would refuse to grant them.

Prior to the widespread enaction of no-fault divorce laws, divorce would only be granted if one party to a marriage could demonstrate a justifiable reason for getting a divorce. Who determined what justified a divorce? The government. Though it varied by jurisdiction, common acceptable justifications were adultery, cruelty, abandonment, denial of affection, and so forth. And it wasn't merely a matter of citing one of these justifications: in court, a person had to provide compelling evidence of such to the state, which opposed divorce. See, at the time the concept was divorce was not a private, personal decision but that the state had an interest in seeing marriages continue. Oh, and divorce was only granted if one but not both parties to a marriage were guilty of one of the justifying offenses. For example, if both husband and wife had been infidelious, then the divorce would not be granted. And if two people simply decided that they no longer wished to be married to each other? Too bad. The government knew better what was good for them.

The fact that you know people who were divorced is irrelevant to what I stated, which was not that that divorce was impossible to obtain. It could be obtained, as cited above. And, of course, if the divorce was consensual, both parties could conspire to obtain a divorce through saying the right things, so long as they were convincing. Also, there was Nevada, where people went to get divorced because Nevada's policy was to accept unconditionally a petitioner's word as to justifiable grounds. Of course, the fact that this was only available to Nevada residents, and that residency required six months in-state to establish, made it problematic. It was limited to the wealthy, and generally only wealthy men as marriage laws at the time were significantly biased against women when it come to common finances and they would rarely have the means to go to Nevada for such a duration.

The first state to implement no-fault divorces was California in 1969, signed into law by Governor Reagan. Other states followed suit in the 1970s. Today, 47 states allow unilateral no-fault divorces, requiring only one party's consent.

Essentially, the difference between the 1950s and today regarding relationships is that today the law allows the individual to control when to terminate a marriage, not the state. Also, since then we've seen the elimination of bans on interracial and same-sex marriages. Cohabitation laws have fallen, as have laws more generally banning premarital sex and homosexual sex. Again, the trend is that the individual, not the government, is best suited to determine the details of that individual's relationships.
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