The History of the No-Fault Divorce

Since no-fault divorces were first introduced in California in 1970, they have become far and away the more popular divorce choice. Prior to introduction of the no-fault divorce, a couple hoping to dissolve their marriage would be forced to prove that one of the spouses was “at-fault,” meaning that he or she had done something severe enough to irrevocably destroy the marriage. For generations, the only way for a person to end his or her marriage was to prove that the other spouse had committed a serious infraction, commit one themselves, or manufacture a situation that would lead to a divorce.
Sometimes the realities of the at-fault divorce system led to circuitous ingenuity. Because one of the actions that would almost certainly lead to an easy divorce was infidelity, a group of men began to market themselves as professional co-respondents. In divorce terms, the co-respondent is listed as the person community law otara engaged in the affair with the married person. Professional co-respondents would set up faux-trysts with married women in ways that would imply their infidelity, thus allowing married women to initiate divorces and avoid either engaging in extramarital affairs or hide their true lover’s name from the press.
Another divorce option available to people before the no-fault divorce was introduced involved moving to Reno. At the time, Reno was the largest city in Nevada, a state with famously liberal divorce laws. A married person could move to Reno and stay long enough to establish residency, thus making them able to take advantage of the state’s divorce statutes. Under Nevada law, not only could divorces easily be initiated regardless of fault, but only one spouse had to be in the state. Husbands or wives could move there and initiate divorce proceedings without their spouse being present.
All this changed in late 1969. California introduced the Family Law Act of 1969 (which became effective in early 1970), which allowed for so-called “no-fault” divorces. No longer did spouses have to prove that they had been wronged, and courts would accept international human rights lawyer simple incompatibility as an acceptable reason for divorce. Other states began adopting similar laws, and by 1983, 48 states allowed no-fault divorces. Today, only New York does not, although their at-fault laws provide for similar allowances.

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