Heartbreaking Tale of Divorce

American Divorce Proceedings

The first recorded divorce in New World dates back to the 17th century when a woman was granted a divorce from her disloyal husband by the puritan court in Massachusetts. All through the colonial years, divorce and scandals were driven by adultery. Thomas Paine, editor of the Philadelphia Magazine, fervently asked for divorce reform when he separated from his wife in the 1770s. Divorce became common and less considered to be a disgrace. Abandoning was the most common crime mentioned in the petitions during the 17th and 18th centuries.

In the 1800s, feminists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton fought for the right to divorce and the country eventually saw divorce rates increase from 9,937 in 1867 to 25,535 in 1886. This led to the formation of an anti-divorce group to obtain divorce statistics. One of the divorce reasons at that time was the breadwinner not being able to financially support his family. By the 1900s, the reason for divorce became ambiguous – women married blue collared job holders and if they could not live up to the standards of the American society, it was a good enough reason to get divorced. In the 1920s, women got to vote and started working, which led them to openly talk about their sexual desires. This led to adultery.

There Are Many Reasons For Divorce

In the 60s, though divorce was still considered a stigma, the social policies became more moderate. This made it easier for people to use deceiving practices to surpass the system. The ‘no-fault’ divorce revolution started in Oklahoma in 1953, but gained momentum in the State of California in 1969, which was soon followed by other states. A mutual consent and/ or a waiting time of 6 months to 2 years was a must in some states, while, in other states, fault grounds, such as incompatible differences, no affection were taken into account. In 2010, David Paterson, the New York governor, signed a bill removing the prerequisite of mutual consent for ‘no-fault’ divorce into law. There are many who still seek Fault grounds as it can shorten the waiting period or affect decisions related to divorce, child custody and support, alimony and so on.

In the 70s, the divorce rate climbed by 40 per cent and leveled off in the 80s. Mediation is another way of resolving divorce cases. It allows the party more privacy and control, saves money to obtain similar results. Another option is the Collaborative law, where both the parties are represented by their lawyers and try to work out a settlement without involving in any litigation. If the parties do not reach any mutual consent, their lawyers are substituted by new counsel.

Since the 90s, a few states have passed the Covenant Marriage laws where the couples need to undertake counseling before being granted a divorce or submit their differences to Mediation. Divorce is never granted until all questions regarding child care and support, property, assets, spousal support are answered.

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