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Should Divorce Be Illegal? - A Unique Quora Question


By:  Christopher A. Pearsall, RI Divorce Lawyer

Aside from the fact that agreeing that divorce should be illegal would literally put me out of business in Rhode Island, I can honestly say that I don’t believe divorce should be declared illegal.

Practically speaking, divorce serves a purpose.

Think about it. One the greatest expectations society has is that out of all the millions of people in the world that you might encounter either now or in the future is to find a spouse that is perfect for you not just for the moment but for life. That is one tall order. It would be more than fair to compare this challenge to finding a single needle in a whole field of haystacks.

So you have to be able to find the person not only that you are compatible with today but who you will grow with and learn with and be compatible with in the future “until death do you part.”  Did I repeat what I just said in a different way?  Yes, I did... because it's important enough that you get the magnitude of what I am saying here.

So if you look at the big picture, that generally means that if divorce were to be illegal that you absolutely must get your decision right the first time. That’s one huge decision. It basically means when you get married that you aren’t allowed to make a mistake.

Marriage came out of contract law. The parties would exchange promises to each other and often rings or some other form of exchange to show a binding contract. However, a marriage contract is so intricately involved with your relationship with your spouse that it is often hard to separate the contract from the relationship.

To be sure there is a lot involved in keeping a marriage healthy and alive. Compatibility both now and in the future regarding education, willingness to learn, growth, financial issues, situational understanding, sexuality, intellect, and many other things come into play to generate a happy and healthy marriage relationship for a lifetime.  One thing is certain.  It takes both spouses and not just one in order for the relationship to work.

Divorce is merely a legal mechanism that provides for the division of the marriage contract much like dividing a partnership that is splitting up in order to help the partners come up with a workable approach to co-parenting their children and dividing what has been accumulated during the course of their marriage so that each spouse can move forward in the best position possible for them and for any children of the relationship.

The fact is that we are not clairvoyant.  None of us can foresee a lack of compatibility with the other spouse years down the road as we each grown and change in different ways.  Nor could many of us foresee intervening factors and unexpected circumstances that change life goals, spouse values, philosophies and expectations in life such that spouses are no longer compatible.  In many cases divorce incompatibility could not only turn into disharmony in families, but hatred, despondency, infidelity and sometimes even violence.  Ultimately I have no doubt that without divorce, the consequences to families and to society as a whole would be more disastrous than if divorce did not exist as a legal remedy at all.