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Feminist News


March-07-96

Critics of No-Fault Divorce Seek To Make Process Harder

In several states, lawmakers interested in restricting no-fault divorce have suggested "cooling off" periods and mandatory counseling for couples wishing to divorce without establishing who is at fault. Some of the momentum to change the laws comes from religious conservatives and father's rights groups. A sociology professor at the University of Southern California, Constance Ahrons suggests that one reason for the push to make divorce more difficult is a backlash against welfare mothers and could be a response to concerns about single-parent families and juvenile crime. Keeping people married could also be seen as a way to control welfare costs, she says.

A law proposed in Idaho would have forced couples involved in no-fault divorce cases to go into counseling and would have required that they be legally separated for a year before divorcing. The bill was dropped after advocates against domestic violence warned that victims could be put in more danger by such a waiting period. Opponents to the bill said that government had no business interfering in private lives, especially with safety issues at stake.

Media Resources: The Washington Post - March 7, 1996