Divorce can unearth many personally negative feelings. In addition to a person's internal feelings, some couples say they perceive a social stigma about divorce. Although these feelings are a natural, though likely unwelcome, part of the divorce process, there may be less of a negative social attitude toward it today than ever before.
According to Gallup, nearly three in four Americans say that divorce is "morally acceptable." This belief among Americans climbed 14 percent since 2001 to an all-time high today and represents a shift in the way attorneys handle divorce cases.
Perhaps ironically, the shift in social attitudes about divorce has been met with a steady decline in the divorce rate since 2011, which has fallen from approximately 3.5 divorces per 1,000 marriages then, to 3.0 divorces per 1,000 marriages today.
What has led to the shift in attitudes about divorce?
As of 2010, no-fault divorce is allowed in every state, which means that no specific reason has to be given other than "incompatibility" or irreconcilable differences. To follow through with a no-fault divorce in Ohio, couples must live separately for one year. In theory, divorce is easier through the no-fault process and more socially acceptable, though perhaps no less difficult emotionally.
Compared to "at fault" divorce, no-fault divorce allows couples to focus on their relationship within the marriage instead of relying on the allegedly wrongful actions of one spouse to precede a filing. Today, no-fault divorce is more common than at-fault divorce.
No-fault divorce still comes with challenges
Despite the societal shift in attitudes about divorce, it is still a contentious process. Married parents face difficult negotiations regarding child custody. Empty nesters might fret over retirement accounts and lifelong savings. Meanwhile, high-asset couples will have to arrange property and a potentially complex financial situation.
Every divorce is different, so it is important to be prepared. A family law attorney can help spouses seeking divorce make the legal arrangements in anticipation of the end of marriage. As attitudes toward divorce change, so will the law surrounding the process.