Divorce is something no one wants to go through. But, in our society, divorce is a fairly common occurrence. Sadly, divorces occur for a variety of reasons, but all divorces are painful for both partners and their children.
But, divorce wasn’t always an option for married couples. By studying the history of divorce, we can learn more about its origins and why it became legal.
Despite its history, divorce is heartbreaking. In our society, we value lifelong love and commitment. For people getting divorced, they may feel like a failure because of these standards. However, divorce is usually the best choice when either partner isn’t happy.
It’s especially a healthy choice if a marriage becomes abusive. Abuse can be physical, financial, emotional, or mental. And, abuse can cause serious damage to one’s self-esteem. It can also result in depression and other mental health problems.
This makes getting a divorce even more difficult. Figuring out financial matters may also cause someone to delay getting a divorce.
But, knowing the history of divorce may shed some light on why it became necessary in the first place, however. Read on to find out the history of divorce to discover why it became a necessity.
Facts about the History of Divorce
The current divorce rate is 40 to 50 percent. And, this number increases in each subsequent marriage after one’s first divorce. This makes getting a divorce a fairly common occurrence in our culture.
There are many steps to take to get a divorce. Paperwork must be filed with the courts, assets must be separated, and court dates have to be attended. Each party would also be advised to hire a divorce lawyer.
Divorces can also drag on for months or even years if the former couple is having difficulty completing these steps.
Divorce marks the end of one stage in someone’s life. A divorcee may or may not have expected the divorce. But, despite any preparation, life after divorce takes time to adjust to.
This is because each partner must re-learn how to live on their own. They must also learn how to not rely on the other partner on a daily basis. Even if the marriage was rocky for some time, a feeling of comfort and continuity may still have existed.
Divorce is a major life transition. And, as well all know, change can be scary. But, coping with divorce is entirely possible.
If you’re unsure if you should get a divorce, then this article by Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C. may help you to decide.
If you’re wondering why divorce was legalized, then explore the following facts about the history of divorce to learn more about why it became a necessity in our society.
1. Divorce in Ancient Times
Divorce isn’t a 20th-century creation. Divorce has actually been around since ancient times. In both ancient Babylon and ancient Rome, getting a divorce was very easy.
However, in both cultures, divorce was much easier for men than for women to initiate. In Babylon, for example, all a husband needed to do was say that his wife was no longer his wife and return her dowry. The wife, however, would be required to file a lawsuit and prove adultery.
In Rome, all that was needed was a proclamation of divorce by the couple in front of seven witnesses.
2. The Beginning of Divorce: Henry VIII
The story of Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon, and Anne Boleyn remains one of the most infamous love triangles of all time.
Henry VIII was displeased that his wife, Catherine, could not produce a male heir. So, he decided that the Pope needed to annul his marriage to Catherine because of this.
When the Pope refused, Henry VIII separated from the Roman Catholic church. He ended up getting his marriage to Catherine annulled and then married Anne Boleyn. But, three years after marriage, Henry VIII accused Anne of many crimes and she was beheaded as punishment.
This was the only divorce that ever occurred in 1536.
3. 1857: The Birth of Divorce
In 1857, the Matrimonial Causes Act allowed common people to also get divorced. This act moved divorces from Christian courts to civil courts. It reduced the cost of divorce and also changed divorce proceedings.
This act still favored men in that men only needed to prove adultery to divorce their wives. Women, on the other hand, had to prove adultery and another offense such as cruelty, desertion, or bigamy.
4. 1969: Divorce Reform Act
The 1969 Divorce Reform Act, which became effective in 1971, allowed couples to divorce without proving fault. This allowed couples to divorce after being separated for at least 2 years. If only one partner wanted the divorce, the separation needed to last for 5 years.
However, divorce still continued to favor men until 1996. In 1996 a lawsuit, it was determined that the role of the homemaker deserved to be equally recognized during divorce proceedings. This allowed women to be granted a more fair divorce settlement.
The History of Divorce to Present Times
Knowing the history of divorce may help us to understand why divorce became commonplace in our society. It may also help us to understand why divorce is a necessity for the health and wellness of each and every family.
If you’re going through a divorce, then consider getting the help you deserve. Talk with a therapist about how you’re feeling so you can cope with your emotions effectively. When getting a divorce, you can expect to go through a grieving process similar to when a loved one passes.
This grieving process can last for many years. But, with help and support from loved ones and healthcare professionals, you can successfully rebuild your life. You will likely also need the guidance of a lawyer to navigate the divorce process with you.
When going through a divorce, it’s also important to set a good example for your children. Try your best to limit negative discussions about your former partner in front of your children. You should also consider getting your children emotional support during this difficult time as well.
To learn more about the grieving process and how to get support, check out our blog post.