Harper, Evans, Wade & Netemeyer
Call Today available 24/7

Restrictive divorce laws and divorce rate: any connection?

Missouri's neighboring state to the south, Arkansas, has a problem. It has a high divorce rate. And the legislature seems to have thought that the problem was divorce was just too easy to obtain. Being a legislature, they did what all legislature's do, the created a law.

That law makes it a very slow process to obtain a divorce. First, you have to separate for 18 months. Then after that year and a half wait, the actual divorce process will drag on for 540-days before it is complete. Yet, even with this drawn out process, the state still has the second highest divorce rate in the nation. 

On the other hand, some states that have comparatively lax requirements have very low rates of divorce. Why? While legislatures are supposed to be deliberative bodies and to carefully hear evidence and pass laws based on that process, they often are more worried about their reelection campaign.

This leads to laws that make it look like they are doing something, but those laws that result often seem ineffective. In this case, they also make life difficult for those who need a divorce, but must wait more than two and half years to obtain a final order.

People divorce for many reasons, and perhaps if becoming married were a more thoughtful process, people would be more deliberate in their choices.

But people's rationale for getting married can be less than rational and logical. Given how personal the decision to marry or divorce is, legislative actions apparently only have a tangential effect.  

In Missouri, you could obtain a divorce much more qucikly than in Arkansas, and yet, in the same survey, Missouri's divorce rate was 17 positions lower than Arkansas.

Source: newsweek.com, "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do in Arkansas; Why Divorce Laws Are Getting Stricter," Tracey Harrington McCoy, May 17, 2015

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information