For previous generations of Texans, divorce was extremely difficult. The parties typically had to present evidence as grounds for divorce, such as infidelity or cruelty, and the whole process took many of the procedures of a criminal trial. The advent of no-fault divorce significantly streamlined the process, and new methods such as mediation and collaborative divorce helped many people to avoid the acrimony that can come with a divorce.
Now, some politicians have decided that divorce is too easy. In several states, including Texas, lawmakers have expressed their desire to make divorces harder to obtain. They argue that by requiring “cooling off” periods or mandatory marriage counseling before allowing a divorce to proceed, they will reduce the divorce rate and strengthen families.
No doubt, the news that divorce is too quick and easy will come as a great surprise to anyone in Texas who has actually gone through the process. While Texas divorce isn’t as awful as it was 60 years ago, it is still a difficult and often quite long endeavor. No-fault divorce didn’t turn the process into a cakewalk. The emotional aspects of a breakup haven’t changed much, of course. Beyond that, the legal aspects of divorce still take time and effort. Child custody agreements may actually be more difficult now than they were in the past, when women were almost always presumed to be the only parties to a divorce who could or would take care of children. And even for childless couples, there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of reaching a financial settlement.
For high asset divorce, the property division process is especially difficult. Business assets, pensions and other complex property can be very difficult to divide in a fair way. Even in a relatively amicable, no-fault divorce, the process takes a lot of negotiation.
Of course, the fact that a divorce is hard doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t go through it, or won’t. In fact, one recent report found that only 28 percent of women who went through divorce later said they wished they had stayed married. Other studies showed that of domestic violence and suicide rates dropped dramatically in the years following the introduction of no-fault divorce.
Texas attorneys with experience in divorce can help people to get through the process as painlessly and quickly as they can.
Source: Slate.com, “Republicans Are Quietly Trying to Kill No-Fault Divorce,” Amanda Marcotte, April 14, 2014