Divorce 100 years ago

Posted in Divorce on August 29, 2016

Some recently released documents provide an interesting look at what some divorces looked like in the U.S. a century ago. The documents are recently unsealed New York divorce records from the early 20th century. That state automatically seals divorce records for 100 years.

One thing one might be struck by when looking over the details the New York Post recently highlighted of some of these old divorce records is the extreme nature of the allegations the parties leveled at each other in them. The allegations included accusations of: extreme verbal abuse, using hypnosis to induce marriage, massive pre-marital lies, trying to get a spouse to engage in prostitution and STDs affecting the marital relationship.

So, heated divorces are hardly something unique to the modern era. In fact, certain aspects of divorce law in the past may have encouraged the leveling of particularly big allegations. Back in the time of the divorces that the above-mentioned divorce records regard, showing fault was necessary to get a divorce. So, what allegations the spouses leveled against each other in a divorce could impact whether a divorce would even be granted.

This requirement could lead to some extreme conduct. Some spouses even created fake controversies, such as fake adultery, to try to qualify for a divorce.

One could understand how requiring a showing of fault could lead to a particularly contentious environment in divorce proceedings.

In today’s world, individuals in the U.S., including here in Pennsylvania, have access to a very different way to get divorced. Specifically, they can get a no-fault divorce.

Now, no-fault divorces haven’t completely eliminated the potential for major conflicts to arise in a divorce, but they do provide an avenue through which an amicable and smooth divorce is possible. There are many reasons why a Pennsylvania couple may want to keep their divorce free of major conflicts, such as a desire to protect the kids, make moving on from the divorce easier or keep the divorce from becoming a spectacle that could potentially impact their reputation.

Skilled divorce attorneys can advise individuals here in Pennsylvania on the process of getting a simple, uncontested, no-fault divorce.

Source:┬áNew York Post, “The sexy secrets from NYC’s long-sealed divorce records,” Julia Marsh, Samantha Tomaszewski and Ross Toback, Aug. 16, 2016