No-Fault Divorce Hits Children Hardest; McAuliffe's Attack on Cuccinelli Amounts to Feminism Uber Alles

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 17, 2013 | Go to article overview

No-Fault Divorce Hits Children Hardest; McAuliffe's Attack on Cuccinelli Amounts to Feminism Uber Alles


Byline: Janice Shaw Crouse, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

To paraphrase former President Ronald Reagan, There he goes again. Terry McAuliffe, Virginia's Democratic gubernatorial candidate, released an ad recently slamming his opponent's divorce-reform bill introduced in 2008, calling it extreme and misrepresenting what the bill, had it passed, would have done. In 2008, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, then a state senator, introduced a Senate bill to amend the Code of Virginia relating to grounds for divorce and minor children.

Evidently, Mr. McAuliffe thinks the idea of trying to protect children from going through a divorce because only one of their parents wants out is extreme. Mr. Cuccinelli's bill attempted to protect children from Virginia's no-fault divorce law by adding a provision that says a divorce will not automatically be granted after a couple with children has lived separate and apart without any cohabitation and without interruption for one year if one of the parents does not want a divorce.

Mr. Cuccinelli's proposal would have allowed a husband or a wife who did not wish a divorce to file an objection to the granting of the divorce for marriages begun after July 1, 2008, that include children. It would have once again made divorce a bilateral decision instead of keeping the power to divorce in the hands of one spouse only. Under no-fault divorce laws, the person who does not want a divorce has no choice if his or her spouse does want one; their marriage is declared ended by a judge.

Mr. McAuliffe's ad portrays a woman who wants out of her marriage as being trapped because Mr. Cuccinelli's bill would have prevented her from leaving if her husband objected. Virginia's current code allows for divorce in cases of adultery, in cases where a spouse goes to jail or prison for a felony and for cases of abuse, abandonment or desertion.

The purpose of bills such as Mr. Cuccinelli's is to protect children from divorce. By slowing down the process, he hoped that couples with children would work out their differences and seek to strengthen their marriages instead of filing for divorce without a chance for reconciliation. The bill also protects innocent parties in the marriage from having a divorce forced upon them by government fiat.

No-fault divorce proponents present these laws as a panacea. However, divorce has many negative consequences for all parties concerned, especially children. Consider these negative outcomes:

? The United States has the highest divorce rate in the industrialized world. In the past 40 years, approximately 40 million children have become the casualties of broken homes.

? Children are positively affected - emotionally, sexually, mentally and physically - when their parents are married, as opposed to single or cohabiting. …

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