Mutual Consent Divorce Reform //Divorce Among Believers - 9/04

Smart Marriages ® cmfce
Wed Sep 15 09:47:01 EDT 2004

subject: Mutual Consent Divorce Reform //Divorce Among Believers - 9/04


McManus - Ethics & Religion Sept. 14, 2004 Column #1,203 Advance for
Sept.18, 2004 Mutual Consent Divorce Reform by Michael J. McManus

Last weekend every American thought deeply about the 3,000 Americans who
lost their lives on 9/ll/01. The terrorism destroyed 3,000 families.

Yet since that date, there have been 3 million divorces that shattered the
lives of 3 million children. That calamity was 1,000 times worse yet no one
thinks about it, except family members in 3 million demolished

The rest of us must care, and take steps to spare future families.

The impact is greatest on the innocent, the children. Children of divorce
are twice as likely to drop out of school as those from intact homes, three
times as apt to have a baby out of wedlock, five-fold more likely to be in
poverty and 12 times more apt to be incarcerated.

"Contrary to what we have long thought, the major impact of divorce does not
occur during childhood or adolescence. Rather, it rises in adulthood as
serious romantic relationships move center stage. When it comes time to
choose a life mate and build a new family, the effects of divorce
crescendo," wrote Judith Wallerstein after following 100 children of divorce
for 25 years after parental divorce, in her landmark book, "The Unexpected
Legacy of Divorce."

Only 60 of the 100, now aged 27-43, had ever married vs. 84 percent of those
from intact families. And 25 of the 60 had already divorced, leaving only a
third who built lasting marriages.

What is achingly needed is to reform No-Fault Divorce. It could save
hundreds of thousands of marriages now terminated too hastily.

Ironically, No-Fault was once seen as a reform.

"In New York and New England for most of the 20th Century, adultery was the
only grounds for divorce. People who wanted divorce did negotiate the terms
of their divorce and agree by mutual consent. But they'd have to fake
pictures of adultery and lie in court," says John Crouch of Americans for
Divorce Reform.

No-Fault removed lies by allowing a spouse to exit unilaterally without
proving the other guilty of a major fault, such as adultery, abandonment or

The result?

1. A 1998 study reports No-Fault Laws caused a 17 percent increase in
divorce rates.

2. Divorced women and their children suffered economically. Prior to
No-Fault, wives were awarded 60 percent or more of the property. If a man
wanted a divorce, he's have to bargain with his wife, making economic
concessions to obtain her consent. Assets are now divided equally, and
since women often dropped out of the work force to raise children, they are
less able to support themselves.

3. "The system rewards those who lie, cheat and steal and use kids as a
weapon to alienate the other person," says Crouch. "No fault denies you the
right to be married in the sense that people have understood marriage for
centuries. It makes it an arrangement that is for the time being. Marriage
has historically been a contract in which people "forsake all others" giving
each a reason to invest their energies to make the marriage work for both of
you and the children. Any complicated high investment human endeavor, such
as building a skyscraper, requires an enforceable contract. If you allow one
person to abrogate the contract, you can't rely on it."

4. The Constitution's guarantee of "due process" is lost. "ALL legal rights
in a divorce are extended to the divorcer, because the one who wants to save
the marriage loses EVERY TIME," complains Billy Miller of Louisiana.

That may sound un-American, but it is very American. No other nation allows
unilateral divorce, which is why the United States has the world's highest
divorce rate.

What's needed is "Mutual Consent Divorce" to replace No-Fault. What was
entered into by two people should not be exited unless both parties agree.

Of course, divorce could be granted if one person was guilty of adultery,
physical abuse, etc. However, two-thirds of divorces do not even involve
major conflict.

One person is unhappy and wants out. If that person had to negotiate with a
spouse to exit the marriage, there would be fewer divorces and fewer wounded
children. The spouse who wants to save the marriage would have leverage.
And divorces would be fairer to all parties.

Mutual Consent Divorce is opposed by divorce attorneys who dominate
Judiciary Committees in Legislatures. However, this is a political season.
State legislators want your vote. Ask if they support Mutual Consent

A Family Policy Council affiliated with Focus on the Family in one major
state has persuaded the governor and legislative leaders to back Mutual

Yet not one religious denomination has called for this reform. Why?

Researcher Also Finds Majority of Christians Disagree with Related Bible

Barna predicts "there is no end in sight regarding divorce".

By Fred Jackson and Jody Brown
September 9, 2004

(AgapePress) - A new poll is confirming an apparent trend in Christianity to
adopt the values of the world. Christian researcher George Barna has
released the results of a new survey which show when it comes to divorce,
there is little difference between born-again believers and the unsaved.

The Barna poll found that 35 percent of married, born-again Christians have
been divorced at least once -- the same percentage as among married adults
who are not born-again Christians. And nearly one-fourth of born-again
Christians have been divorced at least twice.

Pollster George Barna suggests one reason the divorce rate is not higher
among non-Christians is that today many do not bother to marry their
partners in the first place, choosing instead to live together out of
wedlock, side-stepping marriage -- and divorce -- altogether.

And one reason the rate of divorce is not lower among Christians may be that
few people in the general population accept the notion that divorce is a
sin. According to the Barna poll, only 15 percent strongly agreed (and 16
percent "moderately agreed") with the following statement: "When a couple
gets divorced without one of them having committed adultery, they are
committing a sin."

Two-thirds of the 3,600 adults polled disagreed with that statement. More
than half (52 percent) of the born-again group did not agree that divorce
without adultery is sin, whereas three-fourths of the non-Christians felt
that way.

Among the groupings of those surveyed, 58 percent of Protestants and 69
percent of Catholics disagreed with Jesus' teaching that it is a sin to
divorce for any reason other than adultery.

Barna offers these observations. "You can understand why atheists and
agnostics might have a high rate of divorce, since they are less likely to
believe in concepts such as sin, absolute moral truth, and judgment," he
says. "Yet the survey found that the percentage of atheists and agnostics
who have been married and divorced is very similar to the numbers for the
born-again population."

The researcher says his findings do not paint a pretty picture for the
future. "Given the current growth in the number of atheists and agnostics,
and that the younger two generations [those born between 1946 and 1965, and
between 1965 and 1983] are predisposed to divorce, we do not anticipate a
reversal of the present pattern within the next decade."

Barna found that 46 percent of married individuals who were born in that
earlier generation have already undergone a marital split. Slightly more
than one-fourth of those among the younger group have already been divorced
as well.

The complete results of this Barna survey are available online at:

You'll note that:
?Born again Christians? were defined in these surveys as people who said
they have made ?a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still
important in their life today? and who also indicated they believe that when
they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and
had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Respondents were not asked to
describe themselves as ?born again.? Being classified as ?born again? is not
dependent upon church or denominational affiliation OR INVOLVEMENT.

So, no, it did not determine how many times a month or year or week those
surveyed attended church.
1999-April 1999-April.txt 1999-April.txt.gz 1999-August 1999-August.txt 1999-August.txt.gz 1999-December 1999-December.txt 1999-December.txt.gz 1999-February 1999-February.txt 1999-February.txt.gz 1999-January 1999-January.txt 1999-January.txt.gz 1999-July 1999-July.txt 1999-July.txt.gz 1999-June 1999-June.txt 1999-June.txt.gz 1999-March 1999-March.txt 1999-March.txt.gz 1999-May 1999-May.txt 1999-May.txt.gz 1999-November 1999-November.txt 1999-November.txt.gz 1999-October 1999-October.txt 1999-October.txt.gz 1999-September 1999-September.txt 1999-September.txt.gz 2000-April 2000-April.txt 2000-April.txt.gz 2000-August 2000-August.txt 2000-August.txt.gz 2000-December 2000-December.txt 2000-December.txt.gz 2000-February 2000-February.txt 2000-February.txt.gz 2000-January 2000-January.txt 2000-January.txt.gz 2000-July 2000-July.txt 2000-July.txt.gz 2000-June 2000-June.txt 2000-June.txt.gz 2000-March 2000-March.txt 2000-March.txt.gz 2000-May 2000-May.txt 2000-May.txt.gz 2000-November 2000-November.txt 2000-November.txt.gz 2000-October 2000-October.txt 2000-October.txt.gz 2000-September 2000-September.txt 2000-September.txt.gz 2001-April 2001-April.txt 2001-April.txt.gz 2001-August 2001-August.txt 2001-August.txt.gz 2001-December 2001-December.txt 2001-December.txt.gz 2001-February 2001-February.txt 2001-February.txt.gz 2001-January 2001-January.txt 2001-January.txt.gz 2001-July 2001-July.txt 2001-July.txt.gz 2001-June 2001-June.txt 2001-June.txt.gz 2001-March 2001-March.txt 2001-March.txt.gz 2001-May 2001-May.txt 2001-May.txt.gz 2001-November 2001-November.txt 2001-November.txt.gz 2001-October 2001-October.txt 2001-October.txt.gz 2001-September 2001-September.txt 2001-September.txt.gz 2002-April 2002-April.txt 2002-April.txt.gz 2002-August 2002-August.txt 2002-August.txt.gz 2002-December 2002-December.txt 2002-December.txt.gz 2002-February 2002-February.txt 2002-February.txt.gz 2002-January 2002-January.txt 2002-January.txt.gz 2002-July 2002-July.txt 2002-July.txt.gz 2002-June 2002-June.txt 2002-June.txt.gz 2002-March 2002-March.txt 2002-March.txt.gz 2002-May 2002-May.txt 2002-May.txt.gz 2002-November 2002-November.txt 2002-November.txt.gz 2002-October 2002-October.txt 2002-October.txt.gz 2002-September 2002-September.txt 2002-September.txt.gz 2003-April 2003-April.txt 2003-April.txt.gz 2003-August 2003-August.txt 2003-August.txt.gz 2003-December 2003-December.txt 2003-December.txt.gz 2003-February 2003-February.txt 2003-February.txt.gz 2003-January 2003-January.txt 2003-January.txt.gz 2003-July 2003-July.txt 2003-July.txt.gz 2003-June 2003-June.txt 2003-June.txt.gz 2003-March 2003-March.txt 2003-March.txt.gz 2003-May 2003-May.txt 2003-May.txt.gz 2003-November 2003-November.txt 2003-November.txt.gz 2003-October 2003-October.txt 2003-October.txt.gz 2003-September 2003-September.txt 2003-September.txt.gz 2004-April 2004-April.txt 2004-April.txt.gz 2004-August 2004-August.txt 2004-August.txt.gz 2004-December 2004-December.txt 2004-December.txt.gz 2004-February 2004-February.txt 2004-February.txt.gz 2004-January 2004-January.txt 2004-January.txt.gz 2004-July 2004-July.txt 2004-July.txt.gz 2004-June 2004-June.txt 2004-June.txt.gz 2004-March 2004-March.txt 2004-March.txt.gz 2004-May 2004-May.txt 2004-May.txt.gz 2004-November 2004-November.txt 2004-November.txt.gz 2004-October 2004-October.txt 2004-October.txt.gz 2004-September 2004-September.txt 2004-September.txt.gz attachments database index.html pipermail.pck x
To SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE, or Change your subscription address,
use the form on our website ( Click
Newsletter - right under the puzzle piece.

This newslist shares information on marriage, divorce and educational
approaches. Opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by members of the

This is a moderated list. Replies are read by Diane Sollee, editor. Please
indicate if your response is NOT to be shared with the list. PLEASE include
your email address in with your signature.

To read ALL past posts to the newsletter, visit the Archive at:

9th Annual Smart Marriages Conference, Adam's Mark Dallas June 23 - 26, 2005
Pre and Post Conference Training Institutes June 21 - 29, 2005
Subscribe to the free e-newslist at
List your program in the Directory of Classes at
Order conference audio & video tapes/CD/DVDs: 800-241-7785 or

Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education, LLC (CMFCE)
Diane Sollee, Director
5310 Belt Rd NW, Washington, DC 20015-1961 202-362-3332
cmfce at

FAIR USE NOTICE: This e-newsletter contains copyrighted material the use of
which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We
make such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of
marriage, family, couples, divorce, legislation, family breakdown, etc. We
understand this constitutes a 'fair use' of such material as provided
for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit
to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
information for research and educational purposes. For more information go
to: If you wish to use
copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond
'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

More information about the SmartMarriages mailing list