Recently, I was asked, “Are you in favor of divorce?” Here is my response:
Are you in favor of divorce?
I am not in favor of divorce generally, in that I favor marriage over divorce. Individuals and society at large benefit from marriage, so long as the marriage is based in a commitment to the family values that a good marriage requires (i.e., devotion to God, a righteous devotion to one another, a righteous devotion to the children of the marriage, a devotion to causes greater than oneself; although it seems paradoxical, a selfless devotion to a successful marriage makes oneself the happiest).
By the same token, I favor a means by which people who are married but should not be married can dissolve their marriages; therefore, I am in favor of divorce as such a means.
What kind of people should not be married? People who heinously abuse their spouses, and heinously abused spouses. People who abandon or desert or neglect their spouses. People who are incapable of upholding their basic marital obligations.
When should one be permitted to divorce, i.e., when is divorce justified? In cases of adultery, alcoholism or habitual drunkenness, desertion, abandonment, impotency at the time of marriage that was not disclosed in advance of marriage, when one’s spouse is convicted of a felony; when one treats his/her spouse cruelly to the extent of causing bodily injury or great mental distress, irreconcilable differences of the marriage, when one’s spouse suffers from incurable insanity, and domestic violence (which would include physical, sexual, or mental abuse of the other spouse and/or the child/children of the couple.
There needs to be less divorce. Divorce hurts the spouses, their children, and the community. Divorce does real damage for generations. Far too many marriages that could and should survive are thrown away by one or both spouses who are not aware of the fact (or who lose sight of the fact) that “what’s in it for me?” is well down the list of ways to create and foster a happy, successful marriage.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277