Friday, July 14, 2006

No-Fault Divorce: A National Catastrophe

2/1/2007 Addendum:
I learned about two weeks ago that the audio is no longer available at the site. It can, however, still be found to read in full.

God bless!



This is such a GOOD article, I am putting it here in full, and giving the links.
At the bottom of the column, there is a link that you can use to listen/read along
You can listen to this message online here. When you go to this site, put his name, Michael Craven, in the top box, with the date, July 10, 2006.

He has said much of the same things that I have said for many years. He has said what others have learned the hard way for many years. No fault, forced, unilateral divorce is an evil that must change, and it has been deemed to be probably unconstitutional, just as he has pointed out in this column.

Many times, I have said that the Respondent in no fault, forced, unilateral divorce does NOT have 'due process'. I know that others have learned the same thing the hard way.

He uses the example of a man who had an affair. The wife tried to contest the divorce, but could not. There is no contesting no fault divorce.

Worse, that same man, if Catholic, can then go to the US Tribunals and find willing ears to grant him a judgement of Null and allow the adulterer to marry again in the Catholic Church. This is ESPECIALLY true if the Respondent in the Civil Divorce does not believe that their marriage was Null from the beginning. They do this using 'grounds' that are questionable, psychological, and often NOT truly present on the wedding day. This in the name of 'Compassion'...??

JPII has said:

But it is also proper to recognize the value of the witness of those spouses who, even when abandoned by their partner, with the strength of faith and of Christian hope have not entered a new union: These spouses too give an authentic witness to fidelity, of which the world today has a great need. For this reason they must be encouraged and helped by the pastors and the faithful of the church.
~~FAMILIARIS CONSORTIO Pope John Paul II 12/15/1981 (Sec 20)


God bless!!


No-Fault Divorce: A National Catastrophe
7/10/2006
Michael Craven

This past week I had the privilege of sitting in for Kerby Anderson on Point of View, the nationally syndicated radio program founded by the late Marlin Maddoux.

To be honest, "sitting in" may be an overstatement as I fall far short of Kerby's ability and intellect when it comes to addressing today's most pressing issues, especially in the context of a live radio broadcast. Kerby along with co-host Carmen Pate do an exceptional job of raising the level of discourse on the major topics of our day. I strongly recommend this program to anyone who wants to understand relevant cultural and political issues from a learned biblical life and worldview.

While I always enjoy being on Point of View the subject of this program was of particular interest to me and I learned some things that I really did not realize about No-fault divorce.

I along with many others have long argued that the adoption of No-fault divorce, beginning in 1969, has served to increase family dissolution rates and undermine the institution of marriage itself, perhaps more so than any other single factor in history.

Constitutional and family law attorney, J. Shelby Sharpe who was a guest on last week's program said, "No-fault is national catastrophe. Anything which overturns the order or systems of things whereby families are destroyed and the whole of society adversely affected is by definition a catastrophe."

It may surprise you to learn that the efforts to advance No-fault divorce legislation were underwritten, in large part, by Hugh Hefner through the Playboy Foundation, which financed an "army of young lawyers" working to eliminate the legal protections previously afforded women and children. Alfred Kinsey also played an instrumental role in reducing these legal protections by falsely reporting that adultery was commonplace in most marriages. This reduced the stigma associated with adultery and ultimately served as the basis for eliminating all laws against adultery. Hefner and Kinsey both saw marriage as the final barrier to sexual freedom and thus determined to remove its inhibiting influence upon unrestrained sexual liberty.

Prior to No-fault divorce, the party seeking divorce was required by law to demonstrate guilt or cause on the part of the other party prior to dissolving the marriage, dividing the family's assets and destroying the two-parent structure essential for children. These measures provided strong legal protections primarily to women and children who might otherwise find themselves abandoned by husbands and fathers who simply no longer wanted to satisfy their familial responsibilities. (You might think me overly hard on men and unfairly sympathetic to women. Granted both men and women can be guilty of abandoning marriages, however, statistically speaking women and children are most often the victims.) In the cases of adultery the offending spouse risked losing everything. Today under No-fault divorce law adultery is not even considered relevant and therefore bears no relationship in the Court's decision.

Additionally, under the previous Fault system the state was limited in its actions and intrusion into the private affairs of family except in those cases where one of the parties committed a legally recognized offense against the other. In the wake of No-fault divorce the state has been given unprecedented access into and unconstitutional authority over what was previously sacrosanct: the family. Common law tradition in this country has historically treated the family as a preserve of privacy that was largely off-limits to the government. It was as Supreme Court Justice Byron White (1962-1993) called the "realm of family life which the state cannot enter."

This is what was most surprising to me; the constitutionality or lack thereof related to No-fault divorce. A retired Circuit Court judge writes, "To the characterization of No-fault divorce laws as both ungodly and inhumane I would add unconstitutional as well." Attorney Sharpe was confident that if a case involving No-fault divorce was ever brought before the U.S. Supreme Court it would no doubt be ruled unconstitutional and No-fault divorce abolished.

One of the principal protections afforded in the U.S. Constitution is the right to Due Process. Due Process encompasses the rules and principles for our legal system for the enforcement and protection of private rights. It gives the right to be heard regarding issues of life, liberty, or property. This means that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, property or of any right granted him by statute, unless the matter involved is first adjudicated or ruled against him at trial.

No-fault divorce completely usurps the defendant's right to Due Process. In the case of my other guest, Judith Brumbaugh, her husband of twenty years had an adulterous affair, formed a relationship with the other woman and decided that he no longer wanted to be married. Under the No-fault procedure he was able to file for divorce claiming that their marriage was "irretrievably broken." Judith contested this claim hoping to preserve her marriage however the No-fault procedure ultimately gave her husband and the Court the right to deny her Due Process. She was in essence charged with a crime, found guilty and sentenced without ever being heard. The marriage contract was unilaterally dissolved.

Judith lost her home, her children and her husband; she was left nearly destitute from legal expenses and utterly without recourse - an act which is legally impossible related to every other contractual obligation in this country. And yet in the most important contractual obligation in society the plaintiff, under No-fault divorce, is able to break his or her contractual obligation without the right of Due Process being given to the other party in the contract. The defendant's life can be ruined, their liberty restrained in countless ways and their property taken away by the Courts.

This is a travesty of justice that affects more than a million families each and every year with an annual related cost to taxpayers of more than $48 billion. This, of course, doesn't even begin to consider the secondary societal effects of family dissolution, so easily achieved, upon crime rates, welfare rolls, as well as the emotional and psychological effects upon the children of divorce. No-fault divorce has created an easy divorce culture which according to Maggie Gallagher "demotes marriage from a binding relation into something best described as cohabitation with insurance benefits."

No-fault divorce is both a social and legal atrocity that needs to be abolished for the sake of families and children that have, for too long, been subjected to the tyrannical actions of family courts and has encouraged, through law, radical selfishness on the part of narcissistic spouses and parents.

Copyright S. Michael Craven 2006

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S. Michael Craven is the Founding Director of the Center for Christ & Culture, a ministry of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families. The Center for Christ & Culture is dedicated to renewal within the Church and works to equip Christians with an intelligent and thoroughly Christian approach to matters of culture in order to recapture and demonstrate the relevance of Christianity to all of life. For more information on the Center for Christ & Culture, additional resources and other works by S. Michael Craven visit: www.battlefortruth.org

Michael lives in the Dallas area with his wife Carol and their three children.


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