New Research Shows True Price Of State Divorce Laws
Study claims ‘no-fault’ divorce costs Florida taxpayers almost $2 billion per year as an intramural team charges that the state’s laws violate Constitutional protections and due process.
While some in society view marriage as a contract in God’s name, the large state apparatus that exists today has destroyed any semblance of sanctity in modern marital relations. Getting a marriage license is now assumed to allow the state unbridled interference in a couple’s most intimate decisions. Before the implementation of ‘no-fault’ divorce laws, a reason was needed to officially dissolve a marriage.
Dr. Kathy Garcia-Lawson, a clinical psychologist in Palm Beach, Florida, says “No-fault” divorce laws violate constitutional protections and individual rights. She is part of a team of experts that began calling for state and federal investigations after documents revealed the costs and agenda behind these worn out laws.
“Every divorce filed is granted; none are judicially denied,” Dr. Lawson explained. “In 1971, when state legislators changed the laws, they decided to nullify the existing defenses and leave the accused party without any means of rebuttal.”
Dr. Lawson was motivated to do more research into the effects of ‘no-fault’ divorce laws after learning about a similar project in Texas. Constitutional Law attorney Shelby Sharpe conducted a study where she sent surveys out to over one hundred counties in Texas, asking for information regarding the amount of divorces filed and granted. The surveys found the same results as in Florida: the defendant always lost.
“The evidence shows that the plaintiff wins every time. That’s not how it’s supposed to work in our courts,” Dr. Lawson said.
In light of the growing body of research documenting the harmful effects of divorce laws - on children in particular - Dr. Lawson has taken her concerns to top state officials. Her authoritative report entitled “The Effects of Divorce on America,” co-authored by team member Patrick Fagan, presents statistical evidence of the harm caused to five core institutions: family, Church, school, government and the economic market place. Another facet of her research has highlighted the increasingly large financial burden that divorce rates have created for taxpayers.
Top Florida officials have denied that any real problem exists and have been hostile to further inquiries, Dr. Lawson said. But officials in other states have been more receptive.
Working with members of the interdisciplinary team in Michigan, state legislator Fulton Sheen recently introduced a bill that would limit ‘no-fault’ divorce laws to couples without children, a move celebrated by activists nationwide. Despite the lack of immediate success in Florida, activists are still applying pressure.
Further evidence supporting the need for an investigation was released on April 15th, at the National Press Club in Washington, by David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values. He presented a report called “The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing: First-Ever Estimates for the Nation and all 50 States.” The ground-breaking study estimates for the first time the enormous economic costs per year of this problem - $112 Billion nationwide, and almost $2 billion for the State of Florida alone.
“Even a small improvement in the health of marriage in America would result in enormous savings to taxpayers. For example, a 1% reduction in rates of family fragmentation would save taxpayers nationwide $1.1 Billion,” he said. “This report provides the basis for an acceptance of the overwhelmingly negative policy implications that ‘no-fault’ divorce laws have had.”
According to a study released by profamily organizations, high divorce rates and unmarried childbearing have cost American taxpayers over $1 trillion at all levels of government throughout the last decade.
“In addition to the negative emotional impact on children, we now have quantifiable and reliable data that proves the staggering financial impact divorce and unwed childbearing have on taxpayers as well as the ripple effects this can have on the communities they serve,” said Eric Garcia, Co-Founder of the Association of Marriage & Family Ministries. “This study further confirms prior research that raising and keeping families together makes sound economic sense for everyone.”
The non-partisan CATO Institute takes a slightly different approach. Policy analysts there have proposed that each couple should accept enforcement by the state, but let the churches handle everything else. “Couples would then be spared the surprise discovery that outsiders had changed their contract without warning,” the report argues.
According to researchers, the 'no-fault' law was first deceptively sold as a ‘mutual agreement’ process – and most people still believe that both parties must 'agree.'
“America’s top attorneys, whom were members of the Bar’s Uniform Law Commission, quietly designed these laws in 1965, and reached full implementation in 1974 with the publication of the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act,” explained Michael Ross, president of the Family Rights Coalition. “The key leadership of this project proceeded with full awareness of Lenin’s attempt to implement ‘no-fault’ divorce laws after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. In trying to topple the social order, and eliminate governmental opposition, Lenin successfully laid the groundwork for a social order that was destined to ultimate failure.”
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