Why No One Is Married
Marriage today is
no more than "registered cohabitation" because no-fault divorce was
misinterpreted as "no cause & no proof" divorce. If you can divorce without true
cause--then you were not truly married in the first place. You were merely
cohabiting, as in ages past, regardless what name it's called.
You could always walk away from a disagreeable cohabitation, but marriage was
in its protection by law. You couldn't get out of a
marriage just because you wanted out. You had to have true cause: abuse,
adultery, abandonment, or the like. And not only cause, but genuine proof of it.
When the well-meaning no-faulters tried to take adversarialism out of the
divorce process, to make it friendly, it failed. The door swung wide open to "no
cause & no proof" divorce. Meanwhile, adversarialism went right back into the
property and custody battles.
The old "fault" laws needed overhaul to bring spousal equality, and to make the
system friendlier, but no-fault's "no cause & no proof" divorce, administered by
warring lawyers, was the wrong
The law should have required that spouses be
to settle differences as co-equals, to deliberate justly and fairly, with
self-control, while honoring their partner and the vows they made for a
Beforehand, almost any man could rule his wife and settle disputes by physical
force. But spousal equality demands at least a little education, a working
knowledge of civilized diplomacy and reasoned compromise--for both genders.
The no-fault laws
did not train the partners to solve any problems. The laws simply--and
grievously--empowered the courts to settle all their disputes for them, in one
grand sweep, by divorce, no matter how whimsical or trivial the disagreement.
No-fault did not elevate the status of wives as co-equal family managers. It
lowered the status of both spouses, while it elevated the courts as the new, and
not-so-charitable, family managers.
funded divorce. It channeled money from troubled families to divorce lawyers,
now at hourly rates in three digits, in exchange for dividing children and
property. The court's officers were hired and paid to terminate marriages, not
to save them.
The no-fault legal
was to be a family
to comfort the hurting spouses and bandage the wounded marriages. Instead, it
became a family
It promised to give relief from the former hostilities of the "fault" legal
system, but it became more hostile than ever.
dollars, facilities, and assistance were promised, but they never materialized.
A generation and a half later, we know that the experiment did not work as
In truth, our
abolished true marriage. After many years of no-fault, we no longer even respect
the solemn covenants that partners make between themselves and God. Instead, we
respect the solemn covenants that lawyers make between themselves and a judge.
cohabitation is handicapped in many ways, it unfortunately has one important
cohabitation keeps government out of the home. In contrast, the
cohabitation that we still call marriage invokes the jurisdiction of government
officers. They receive authority to manage the lives of both spouses and their
children with legal force.
No wonder people cohabit. No wonder we have so many broken homes. Partners can
walk away from the slightest inconvenience, at any time, with court assistance.
They don't ever have to conciliate, or swallow their pride and say they are
sorry, or try to please anyone but themselves.
When divorce was made into a guaranteed certainty, it became an easy way out of
hard times. Partners knew they would no longer be pressed by embarrassing
questions about covenants and faithfulness, as they moved on to their next
cohabitation. Nor could they be stopped.
The fundamental attribute, the unique
characteristic, the earmark, that always distinguished true marriage from
cohabitation, is legal security--protection by law--protection by divorce law.
protection is gone. Genuine proof of true cause was always required for divorce,
and anything else--but that--should have changed in an overhaul of divorce law.
It is one thing to let spouses decide, without intrusion, for their own private
reasons, whether to live together, or to live apart indefinitely. But it is
another thing altogether, for government not to question the cause, when
government has already intervened, when government is asked to destroy a
marriage, totally and permanently.
The legal security of true marriage cannot be a chain. But neither can it be a
thread. It must be a sturdy fabric, a flexible but tough canvas, to weather the
gales of life.
That's why true marriage is so secure and stable for mates. When spouses cannot
easily shake off their yoke, they soften it by mutual accommodation. In other
spouses don't stay together because they get along;
they get along because they stay together.
And that's why true marriage is so secure and stable for children. True marriage
is underwritten by law. Children can rest assured that no passing storm will
carry either of their parents away. They know that the whole force of government
stands as a benevolent guard to protect their homes and both of their providers.
We are not in the midst of a divorce crisis. It is a marriage crisis.
No one is married,
and no one can marry. The right to marry was taken away.
The happy voices
of the bride and the bridegroom are gone from our land.
Ed Truncellito, JD
Texas no-fault divorce information