To the editor:
As a licensed marriage and family Therapist, I was distressed to see that a bill is being proposed that would abolish no-fault divorce. According to the article, Rep. Keith Esau believes that “No-fault divorce gives people an easy out instead of working on it.”
This logic is flawed. I have yet to see a couple who has “not worked on it” before they end their relationship. In fact, the opposite is true; couples often seek therapy only after they have tried many times to solve their problems and have not been successful.
Moreover, couples change throughout the course of a marriage and may encounter many obstacles. Successful couples are able to grow together and negotiate “normal” changes (e.g., birth of a child, death of a family member, etc.). Sadly, not all partners are able to move through life’s changes and find that they can no longer live together.
Finally, looking for a “reason” for divorce sets the stage for a contentious dissolution. Such a process does not benefit anyone because it requires that blame be assigned. This can lead to acrimony, which makes division of property and/or co-parenting, a difficult process in and of itself, potentially even more problematic.
Sometimes a “success” in my work can be defined as helping a distressed couple end their relationship by acknowledging that both partners had a role in making the marriage untenable. That is, “there is no good guy or bad guy.” Ending no-fault divorce requires that one person be labeled “bad guy.” This benefits no one.