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Cross CurrentsFamily Law and Policy in the US and England$
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Sanford N. Katz, John Eekelaar, and Mavis MacLean

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198268208

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198268208.001.0001

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Divorce in the United States

Divorce in the United States

(p.340) (p.341) 15 Divorce in the United States
Cross Currents

Ira Mark Ellman

Oxford University Press

Recent interest in fault divorce seems part of a more general cultural trend favoring traditional values, a trend which probably also contributes to the downward movement in divorce rates. One might conclude that the arguments for reviving fault law are simply too weak on merits to prevail in the end. The covenant marriage movement has adopted the politically clever tactic of portraying itself as merely giving prospective spouses a choice, and of relabeling the newly available choice with the appealing term ‘covenant’ rather than the more accurate term of fault divorce. Even so, it has had a difficult time making headway since its initial adoption in Louisiana. Arizona amended the Louisiana package to permit divorce by mutual consent, and even by unilateral consent with a two-year waiting period, but even this much weakened version passed by the narrowest of margins. Covenant marriage proposals have been defeated in other states. The belief that marriage and divorce are matters for regulation by private commitment rather than legal compulsion appears to remain strong.

Keywords:   Louisiana, Arizona, divorce, marriage, fault divorce, covenant marriage, consent, private commitment, legal compulsion

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