The United States is a country of laws, and for better or worse, this includes the laws of divorce. Because divorce and marriage are so intertwined with our cultural and religious identities, some weirdness is bound to seep in. And, while most states have purged their old, weird divorce laws, not all state have done so.
Divorce rates plunging
For most, the idea of divorce is horrifying, which may explain why our divorce rates have been declining since their heights in the 1970s and 80s (during the Divorce Revolution). For example, from 2009 to 2019, the divorce rate per 1,000 women went from 9.7 to 7.6, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Indeed, the first weird divorce law comes from our country’s first divorce in the Massachusetts Bay Colony back in 1639. In that divorce, the man was banished as punishment for divorcing his second wife, but not before being fined, giving up his possessions to his former wife and being placed in the stocks. Luckily, these types of divorce punishments are no longer practiced in Massachusetts.
Joke and dare marriages
It may shock some of our dear Brighton Howell area readers, but enough people in Delaware got married as a joke or a dare to justify the state passing a law allowing for the annulment of those types of marriages. And, it is still law in that state.
Newspaper divorce notice
In South Dakota, if a spouse is hard to locate, they can be served their divorce complaint in the newspaper. Imagine finding out one’s spouse wants a divorce while scanning articles online.
Pregnancy means no divorce
While it may seem odd, pregnancy can actually stop a divorce in some states. In Arizona, Texas, Florida and a few other states, if a wife is pregnant with the husband’s genetic offspring, a court will not finalize a divorce, or issue any child support or custody orders. For Brighton Howell, Michigan, residents, while they do not have to deal with these laws, Michigan has its own set of wrinkles.