Divorce Saves Lives

When “no fault” divorce laws started passing one state at a time, starting with Governor Ronald Reagan in California in 1969, researchers wanted to see the effect. In states that passed unilateral no-fault divorce, they observed the suicide rate for wives drop by 8-16%. The domestic violence rate by and against both men and women dropped by 30%. The homicide rate of women murdered by an intimate dropped by 10%.

—Stevenson and Wolfers, “Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress,” The Quarterly Journal of Economics (Feb. 2006): 267, 286.


Although the divorce-per-married-woman rate lept up for the next 14 years, it slowly started a path of decline. Today, the divorce-per-married-woman rate is nearly as low as it was in 1970. (See how this is calculated, below.)

BGSU Divorce Rate 2019

How is it calculated? The divorce rate = [(number of women divorced in the past 12 months) / (number of women divorced in the past 12 months + number of currently married women)]*1000 s are represented as the number of women aged 15 or older who married in the past year per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15 or older.


If you're under the age of 70, you probably don't remember what divorce was like prior to 1969.

If your spouse was malicious to you, you had to provide evidence to the court. It was handled similarly to a criminal trial. In some states, there were jury trials to decide whether a battered wife or browbeaten husband could divorce or not.  And if the court didn't find the evidence convincing, it could refuse to allow the divorce and send a victim back home with the batterer or cheater or a child molester. Sometimes the only option was to flee to save their life and sanity.

Each state had different rules (and they still do), but in states that allowed divorce only for adultery, an entire cottage industry cropped up to fabricate photographs purporting to show a man (or woman) disrobed in a compromising position with a partner.

Wealthy people could just move to a state with more lax laws just long enough to establish residency and divorce there. But the average person who was being abused could not.  Divorce was long, expensive, complex, and publicly humiliating.

 


 

Focus on the Family Calls for Making Divorce Harder, Even for Abuse Victims

Some organizations wish to turn back the clock to 1969 and do away with no-fault divorce. Focus on the Family is one of them. This interview from November 11, 2021, features a call for repealing these laws that allow abuse victims to escape.

 

 


Are you going through a life-saving divorce? I’d like to invite you to my private Facebook group, "Life-Saving Divorce for Separated or Divorced Christians." Just click the link and ANSWER the 3 QUESTIONS. This is a group for women and men of faith who have walked this path, or are considering it. Supporters and people helpers are also welcome.  I’ve written a book about spiritual abuse and divorce for Christians. Also, sign up for my email list below.

 

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GET THE BOOK! The Life-Saving Divorce is about divorces for very serious reasons: a pattern of sexual immorality, physical abuse, chronic emotional abuse, life-altering addictions, abandonment, or severe neglect. This book will give you hope for your future, and optimism about your children. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

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