Navigate:

Why do people want to keep other people in failed marriage?

Because marriage and divorce are fundaments of a society. The societal pressures to liberalize divorce, which began building in the 1960s, bore fruit in 1970, when California enacted no-fault divorce. Liberalized divorce is part of a great and profound cultural shift. Like so much of American life, even a generation later people are still arguing about it. Conservatives argue that liberalized divorce law -- which made it very possible for one spouse to divorce the other against his or her will -- undermines the very foundations of society; liberals, on the other hand, contend that the decision to stay married is private and personal. Both extremes can provide anecdotal and statistic evidence supporting their position, but most Americans are somewhere in between.

However, it is interesting to note that within ten years of California’s no-fault (signed into law by Governor Ronald Reagan, a divorced man and later America’s first divorced president), almost every state had some form of no-fault. This strongly suggests that divorce reform -- and liberalization -- was an idea whose time had come.