The state of New York has become the last state in the union to sign no fault divorce into law; this now allows couples to get divorced without having to prove any wrongdoing or abuse. Before the passing of this law couples would need to be separated for a year and one side had to be at fault, causing many people to make up stories of wrongdoing or abuse. Now with this law being passed a couple can get a divorce without having to find fault in either party. Of course as with any change comes controversy, is making divorce easier fair to women, will it increase divorce rates, will any good come out of it?
Many women groups have expressed a great deal of concern over the new law changes claiming that it would be harmful to most women. The reason for this is the no fault option would leave many women who are not the main bread winner in their household without any bargaining power during the process. These concerns that the more moneyed spouse would hide assets and income prior to divorce proceedings and then rush through the divorce leaving the other party without the money its due and while this may have been true decades ago in this day and age of two income families it is not as cut and dry. Money issues aside there have been many studies that have found some good news for women. In research done in states that have adopted similar laws to that of New York have found that domestic violence has decreased after adopting these laws, it was also found that women were less likely to commit suicide when they were able to leave their marriages unilaterally.
There have been many opponents of the no fault divorce that claim an almost certain increase in divorce rates and being that it generally ranks among the lowest so that fear of increase could be very real. Massachusetts which has the lowest divorce rate in the United States has had a no fault divorce law passed since 1975. This is attributed to a couple of reasons, first is it has a high population of highly educated people who tend to not marry young which is a major contributor to divorce. Second it also has a high population of catholic people who despite changes in society still do not divorce at the rate of the rest of society. New York state has both of these they have a high population of highly educated people and a high population of Catholics. So after the most likely initial surge in divorce, it should settle down and continue to be among the lowest divorce rate in America.
With so much publicity given the no fault divorce law passing in New York and the upheaval that it might cause we must remember that it was passed in all the other states and they still manage to move on. What needs to be concentrated on is the issues that lead to divorce and educate people so that they understand the consequences of their actions.