Mississippi’s fault based divorce requirements usually harm women and the poor.
Mississippi’s State-wide newspaper, The Clarion Ledger, did a long story on Mississippi’s divorce laws on Sunday, February 19, 2017. The article points out that Mississippi is one of only two states that do not allow for what is called “no fault” divorce. The basis for holding on to this scenario when 48 states have not, is fundamental religious and family values that divorce is not good and should not be easy. Mississippi Legislators openly acknowledge they know this presents problems for people of our state but cannot be changed due to religious and right wing lobby. The article does not quote practicing divorce lawyers, but it points out that despite the tough divorce laws, Mississippi still has a high divorce rate. It’s sort of like the current lottery ban which is costing our state millions; you can ban the lottery but you cannot stopping people from betting. Any practicing divorce lawyer will tell you that the rigid divorce laws usually negatively impact homemakers and the poor, who do not have resources to stand on their own or to mount a legal battle. The article features one husband who says he will not divorce his estranged wife of many years because he still loves her. I am not questioning that gentleman’s motive, but my experience is that love is rarely behind someone standing in the way of divorce; the motive is usually revenge or blackmail. By the way, I am a practicing Christian and have been happily married for 38 years with 4 children and wish everyone could be as fortunate as I in that regard, but they are not and they need ways to resolve their problems and move forward positively.