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Waging war against no-fault divorce

When a Maryland marriage has passed the point of no return, spouses can at least be assured that they can move beyond the relationship with relative ease. However, there is a current movement aimed at placing obstacles in the path of a couple seeking divorce, and one of the cornerstones of this social shift is the elimination of no-fault divorce. Should this movement gain ground, spouses in Maryland and elsewhere could find it more difficult to go their separate ways.

The quest to make divorce harder to obtain can take many forms. The most common, however, seems to be the push to end no-fault divorce. This is the legal means through which a couple can end their marriage without having to prove that one or both spouses have violated the marital contract in some way. It allows the divorce to move forward without placing a burden of proof on either party.

Some states have proposed laws that would restrict the ability for parents to divorce. This is apparently based on the assumption that spouses with children should be strongly persuaded to remain married. One such law would only allow parents to divorce if there were matters of imprisonment, adultery, abandonment or abuse, or in cases in which the spouses have lived separately for at least two years.

Another tactic is to create a lengthy waiting period between the time a couple files for divorce and the legal end of the marriage. This timeframe, known as a “cooling-off” period, is seemingly meant to stop couples from rushing toward divorce over minor marital troubles. The underlying assumption is that if divorce were more difficult to obtain, many couples would simply stay together. For many in Maryland, the reasoning behind this logic is fundamentally flawed.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "The battle against divorce", Scott Keyes, May 18, 2014

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