Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Mistake of Unilateral Divorce

Many Americans fondly remember Ronald Reagan as one of our greatest presidents, and rightly so, but in my new book, Who Killed the American Family?, I talk about one great mistake he made when he was governor of California.

Reagan’s mistake was signing a change in that state’s divorce law in 1969. The change was called “no-fault” divorce, but it should really be called unilateral divorce. Before this divorce change passed, one spouse had to show that the other was at fault. This supported the idea of marriage as a solemn contract, only to be dissolved in extraordinary situations. The new law made it easy for marriages to be ended at will. This change made women more reluctant to depend on their husbands for financial support, because the prospect of unilateral divorce meant they could be tossed out of marriage anytime. Of course feminists were pleased with this result, because it pushed women out of the home and into the workforce.

Those who support big government like the change in the law because it help their agenda. More women in the workforce means more income taxes flowing to government. Local agencies and courts usually give custody to the mother, which means the higher-earning father must pay child support. Supremacist judges grabbed the right to make all money, property, and custody decisions.

After California permitted unilateral divorce, other states quickly followed suit, and the number of divorces skyrocketed. Wives who tired of marriage now initiate the majority of divorces. After seeing these consequences, it is little wonder that Ronald Reagan admitted that signing America’s first divorce law was as one of his greatest mistakes.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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