It doesn't have to be this way!

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Americans for Divorce Reform

thinks it should take two people to end a marriage.

[This is the basic introductory brochure of Americans for Divorce Reform]
Part of the Divorce Reform Page, sponsored by Americans for Divorce Reform
Other pages on this site: Polls | Legislation | Statistics | Articles/Opinion | Quotations | Other family-related articles | Classic Marriage -- Our Comprehensive Model Legislation.

Table of Contents:
Divorce: Why Change It?
What Divorce Reform Would Do
What Americans for Divorce Reform Does

DIVORCE: WHY CHANGE IT?

Under so-called "no-fault" divorce laws, anybody can end any marriage simply by leaving. "No fault" doubled an already high divorce rate shortly after it was introduced. Even families with young children started divorcing. The social and cultural realities that used to keep most families together have disappeared ... and nobody predicted any of these catastrophic changes.

Experts Agree

Psychologists, economists and sociologists report that divorce is far more harmful than we used to think. It makes everyone poorer, especially women and children. Children of divorce are twice as likely to be abused and to become criminals and teen moms -- even if they have stepparents. And divorce doesn't end fighting in front of the children -- in most cases, it escalates it!

Nobody Wins

Divorce victims and divorce lawyers have seen that "no-fault" has led to an explosion of bitter child custody fights. Nobody wins. Divorce cases involve more "fault" than ever before! The cost of divorce litigation has spun out of control. Ordinary people often cannot afford lawyers for their divorces once all the family's assets are used up.

The Failure of No-Fault

When no-fault was introduced, no one had any idea what it would do. But now, liberals and conservatives, Christians, communitarians, and libertarians are all realizing that they made a huge mistake. The radical swing from 100% fault-based divorce to 100% unilateral non-binding marriage is a failed experiment. It pushed us into a whole new form of family life that is not sustainable -- it just doesn't work in the long term. Ordinary people can't afford it. Society can't afford it.

What Divorce Reform Would Do

Legislators around the country have recently introduced bills to undo some of the radical changes in divorce law of the 1960s and '70s. Laws proposed in many states say that when a couple has children under 18, they can only get a no-fault divorce if they both consent to it. They will have to work out an arrangement that they both think is fair to themselves and the children. Couples and their children will also have security in their marriage, the way people used to. They will be able to invest their efforts in the family if they know it won't be taken away from them by an arbitrary, unescapable divorce.

Other bills include one that would only allow divorces when they are in the best interests of the children, and proposals to encourage counseling and let couples choose what will be grounds for divorce in their marriage. One of these, "Covenant Marriage," has become law in Louisiana and Arizona.

No other reforms have become law yet, however, though they have come close in some states. For reform to happen, the public needs to hear about the issue, and people need to get involved in efforts to pass legislation. State legislators need to know that people care.

What Americans for Divorce Reform Does

That's why we started Americans for Divorce Reform. We want to:

Americans for Divorce Reform was founded in 1997. We have helped people get involved in the movement for divorce reform through our web site, e-mail lists, radio, print and television interviews. For example, people in Maryland and North Carolina found reform bills on our web site and persuaded their legislators to introduce similar legislation. We have amassed useful statistics, studies, and model legislation on our web site to give inspiration and ammunition to state-level reform advocates. We have recently released a comprehensive model divorce reform bill, Classic Marriage (www.classicmarriage.com).


Colleen Fannin Arnold
President
John Crouch
Executive Director
Jenny Choo Keefauver
Vice-President

"Getting a divorce should be much harder when children are involved."
Hillary R. Clinton

"Why should a couple invest in a marriage when it can be dissolved for no reason at all?"
Georgia State Rep. Brian Joyce

"I did not foresee the approximately one million American children now affected annually by divorce, twice the number of 30 years ago. 'No-fault' divorce has too often harmed children. This must change."
Congressman Tim Penny (D-Minn.), recalling his vote to introduce
no-fault when he was a state legislator.

"It is easier to divorce my wife of 26 years than to fire someone I hired one week ago."
Judge Randall Hekman

"Getting married in America is like doing business in Russia. Everything is up for grabs. Everything is constantly renegotiated. Nobody has to keep their word. That makes for a lot of unhappy marriages."
John Crouch

"[Divorce] makes a paper house of marriage, flimsily built for instant collapse, haunted by rootless children whose sense of incipient desertion already dooms them to an emotional wasteland."
Laurie Lee

More Quotations on Divorce


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Originally posted and maintained by Americans for Divorce Reform; now maintained by John Crouch. You can call me at (703) 528-6700 or e-mail me through my law office's web site.