Marriage, a sacred and vital institution, has lost its place and respect in our society. Today, it seems like the time it takes to divorce is a fraction of the time it takes for a couple to decide to marry. But if only in the cases where there is no abuse, addiction, or adultery–I call it “the three A’s”–would couples slow down on their warpath to divorce, they might find that their differences aren’t so irreconcilable after all. Too often, couples race to the courthouse to file for divorce without fully understanding the long-term consequences it may have on not only each other, but also on their children.
No-fault divorce may be the ultimate remedy in some marriages, and in some cases it should be; but there is far more benefit than there is harm in waiting a little longer before pulling the plug on the marriage: 1) you have the opportunity to explore counseling and reconciliation services to understand the issues in the marriage and, more importantly, whether they truly are irreparable; 2) you allow time for your spouse and especially the children to emotionally process and accept the life-altering change; and 3) you honor the institution of marriage, but above all, you respect your spouse and children.
Despite whether the couple is mutually in agreement, divorce is jarring to the entire family and has an impact on every community—I know for certain based on my experience as a judge, as well as a divorcee. In considering whether to adopt a statutory no-fault divorce provision and to shorten the period of time in which married couples can divorce, New York should take a hard look at the social science data, and I think other states should consider the same.