Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

How hard should it be to divorce?

Asked by wundayatta (58625points) March 13th, 2012

There are people who think we should make it difficult for people to divorce, so they have an incentive to work hard to make the marriage work. I suppose there are others who think marriages should be easy to dissolve—as simple as saying, “I divorce thee” three times in a row.

As a matter of public policy, do you think divorce should be easier or harder, and why? The why is the heart of the question. I don’t really care what you think the answer should be. I am interested in why you think that.

What is the value of marriage? What makes it worth keeping it together? How much pain should people go through to see if it is fixable? How do you know when people are in more pain staying together than they would be in separating?

Feel free to include personal stories in helping us to understand your answers.

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23 Answers

tom_g's avatar

I feel it should be easy to marry and divorce anyone you want. I have never heard a compelling reason to make divorce more difficult. Mostly, the arguments seem to be “well think of the kids!”. Sure, I get it. It sucks. My parents divorced when I was a kid and it was devastating. But would things have been better if divorce was more difficult? I doubt it. My father had a year-long affair and was a narcissistic asshole.

I’m open to hearing some legit reasons though.

And what’s the value of marriage? We pair bond in our society, and it makes it easy to work out legal matters when you know who a person’s legal partner is.

Blackberry's avatar

Not difficult at all, since it’s such a hindrance. If the decision is already made, why make it harder when all they want to do is move on with their life.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I think the hoops a couple has to go through in order to achieve divorce should be equal to those required for marriage. I don’t see whose business it is to decide that it should be any more difficult than that. The only people affected are the couple and their children. And you simply can’t have different rules for couples with children than for couples without.

zensky's avatar

It’s noboby’s business whom I marry – nor whom I divorce.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

You can’t make a person stay who doesn’t want to stay, and you can’t make someone leave who doesn’t want to leave.

I think that is from “War of the Roses.”

In other words, making it more difficult isn’t going to help anything. It might even make the couple so frustrated that they are more tempted to dissolve the marriage in other, not so legal, ways.

lonelydragon's avatar

It should be easier rather than harder. Forcing people to stay together isn’t going to make them magically fall in love again. They’ve already made the decision in their hearts and minds. It’s up to the couple to decide what’s best for their relationship.

annewilliams5's avatar

First of all: Good question.
I think that if people, who want to marry, walked into it with a better idea, as to whether “forever” is actually a possibility, they would see it as a life altering decision. I am not against divorce. My mother and stepfather should never have been married. Violence was a method to get a point across while I was growing up. It took quite a bit of counseling and work to get myself to a position, that even a suggestion of marriage was something I would entertain. Divorce under certain situations is a good thing. Working on a marriage should never include trying to find a place to hide.
I just think that, and this is just from my viewpoint here in the outback of nowhere, kids are getting married to get out of already sad households, or because their friends are getting married. I do not ever speak for anyone else. This is only what I have seen and heard. I’m not talking about gossip.
As far as the word “work”...marriage is not supposed to be easy. If it was, everyone would be finding a person they could actually live with for the rest of their lives. That being said, there are things that we have to do to keep the fire burning. If it’s meant to be, then it shouldn’t be so hard to have your spouse’s, SO’s, or however you want to put it, back. It takes honest to goodness work. Most of the time it’s easy, but there are times when it’s hard. Those times make the good times that much better. The people my spouse and I are closest to are those that make huge efforts to remind each other that they are loved. They are also fiercely loyal to their friends, and have not been the ones that have walked away, when a friend has truly been needed. Marriage can work and divorce does not always have to be the answer. Sometimes it is, and when it is apparent that other avenues have been exhausted, it should be an alternative.
In the cases of abuse, whether it is mental, physical, and or sexual divorce should be easy as going to the grocery store. It should be easier to prove and uphold in any court. It should be automatic if the abused wants it.

Coloma's avatar

I think that if a couple or an individual find themselves in any relationship that is no longer working for them that divorce should be as it is, easily available. People cling to outgrown relationships to their own detriment. Marriage is a union of choice, not an indentured servitude. This is the problem with much of the old way of relationship programming, somehow many people truly believe they actually “possess” their beloved, rather than consciously choosing to re-evaluate and renew the relationship/marriage contract on a regular basis. All contracts should be renewable, not etched in stone.

Outdated, unhealthy and oppressive.

saint's avatar

Not real sure how the political state got involved in marriage in the first place. Huge mistake.

Akua's avatar

It should be just as easy to divorce as it is to marry. Being put into a situation of staying married when you want out makes you do crazy, illegal things. Trust me, I’ve done it.

jca's avatar

I think it’s sad that it’s so lengthy a process to get divorced, and potentially so expensive. I have never been married, but everyone I know that has been married and seeks a divorce has a story about lawyers, huge bucks being spent and a huge fight to obtain the divorce. That should not be so. I think it should be as easy to get divorced as it is to get married – not quite as easy as saying “I divorce thee” three times, but yet easier than it is at present.

wundayatta's avatar

@jca I think the court cases have to do with dividing up common assets and figuring out a fair way to make sure the kids are cared for. When you talk about money, you’re talking lawyers for sure.

rooeytoo's avatar

If divorce were overly difficult to attain and couples stayed together simply because it was easier than dissolving the marriage, it would be a very poor example of what an ideal relationship should be. The children would not have role models to emulate and have a distorted view of marriage.

lifeflame's avatar

I think part of the reason for making it difficult is that you actually did promise to stay together for life. I think if you didn’t intend to do you best to try and make it work, really, you shouldn’t have made that promise.

So I think the root of the problem lies in the wedding vows, not the divorce proceedings. It seems as if people need to rewrite wedding vows to reflect a more practical method of commitment.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@rooeytoo I don’t think people would stay together simply because it’s easier. They would still separate, they just wouldn’t do the paperwork.

I know couples who have done this. Now, 20 years later, it is a really big mess with one trying to claim the other’s house and retirement.

Coloma's avatar

People change so much over the course of a lifetime that to promise ones entire life to another is nothing short of insane. Nobody can make that kind of “promise” without being extremely self deceptive.
For many centuries the vast majority of people died in mid-life, it was not unusual for one parent to die within a short time of the last of their children leaving home. “Til death do us part” usually meant, maybe, 20 years or less, not 50–60.

In modern times we are living longer and longer, and most people go through some really big developmental shifts during their middle age that simply never had to be dealt with in previous eras. Mid-life is a high risk time for divorce as people re-evaluate their lives and relationships to date. Something that rarely occurred in the old days when one or both people were dead by their mid-to late 40’s on average.

As with everything, things change, people change and to make promises of lifetime love and devotion is impractical and unrealistic for the majority of relationships and a set up for heartbreak.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I don’t think it should be difficult. I agree that some people don’t work on their marriages and give up when they come to the slightest hurdle but those are the kind of people that shouldn’t be married anyway. Most of the divorced people I know did work at trying to keep their marriage but sometimes people just grow apart and when this happens I agree with @Blackberry, they should be allowed to get on with their lives without the added stresses of feeling forced to remain in a relationship they aren’t happy in. It’s not a crime to fall out of love with someone and, quite often, when that happens it is very difficult to get that feeling back.

Personally, I believe it should be harder to get married in the first place. Maybe if a couple had to be living together for a certain amount of time (a couple of years at least) before they were able to get a marriage licence there would be less divorces. These couples will already know whether their relationship is strong through more difficult times.

Having said all of that, I actually don’t believe in marriage at all so my opinion may be bias!

Charles's avatar

You should be able to do it online for free.Why make it hard?

linguaphile's avatar

It’s difficult, complicated and painful enough already… how much more difficult does it need to be to make a point?

Life’s too short to be miserable.

Akua's avatar

@Charles Your funny. If it were THAT easy I think I’d be divorcing my husband everytime he forgot to clean up after himself. lolol. But I still like your idea.

Soubresaut's avatar

To sort of echo a few voices above—I think it should be as easy to divorce as it is to marry. And that’s to say, I don’t think it should be easy to marry. Simple, but not easy.

I’m not sure it should be a government-sanctioned not-easy, though. People should have the right, and be expected to, act responsibly and thoughtfully on their own. That should be more of a given, in general.

Marriage should be appreciated as the huge commitment it is, not something you leap into just because you’re in love, or think you’re supposed to get married, etc. It should mean something. Be an option. An equally offered option, I might add… It should not be an inherent expectation.

I don’t see myself ever getting married. It doesn’t seem like something I can honestly promise to, or something I can ever expect anyone else to promise to me. ...I want my SO to be technically able to walk away at any point: but not. That’s a huge commitment already, to me. But then—I tend to sit on decisions for months before I decide that it’s maybe time to start weighing and comparing the research I’ve managed to accumulate. When I don’t do that, I usually just wind up regretting the choice. I think it’s just the way I am, and I don’t think I’d be able to consider, well, something so permanently life-altering as marriage enough to go for it.

I do, however, understand other people wanting to be married. I really do.

And, in the event that the marriage can’t/doesn’t/won’t last—it’s already difficult to sift out two separate, hopefully somewhat coherent, lives from the entwined one. Keeping the process as painless as possible—I imagine the act itself would be terribly painful already—seems like the most reasonable, and humane, approach.

OctoberMoon81's avatar

Honestly, I think it should be easy to do both – it’s a personal decision for both parties. That said, when it comes to marriage, both parties should think long and hard before making an agreement. (This is hard won knowledge after rushing into marriage myself. It was the worst decision I ever made. )

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