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Hillbillies, bagels and “No-Fault” Divorce

couple fighting

When “I Do” turns into “I’m pretty sure I don’t” your friendly neighborhood courthouse comes rushing to your aid with a nifty little tool called “Divorce.”

But why have you decided that you are no longer willing to have and hold ‘til death do you part? Guess what? The courts don’t care. That’s the beauty of the no-fault divorce in Colorado.

Most states offer no-fault divorces and most of those states don’t even require a statutorily mandated separation period. Colorado is one of those states where you need only represent to the court that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The courts don’t care to know who spends every waking hour at the strip club, who pelted who with a bagel (actual example), or who leaves wet towels on the bathroom floor. More importantly, your judge doesn’t want to hear, “But she cheated on me!” Similarly, your judge is not concerned with violence against each other unless that violence affects minor children.

One reason most states have transitioned to no-fault divorces is because the courts just don’t have the time or patience to listen to who hates who more. The other big reason is because courts also don’t want to listen to the served party argue as to why he or she would prefer to remain married.

Divorce is devastating in every aspect: financially, emotionally, and mentally. Most people can’t count divorce as one of the most enjoyable things they’ve done. While you may want to tell everyone just how awful your soon-to-be ex is, the courts won’t listen. The events and emotions leading up to the decision to divorce are deeply important to you, but no-fault means no-blame. “Irretrievably broken” means the marriage can’t be fixed. That’s it. That’s all the judge wants to know.

I’m sure you can understand why courts have moved in this direction. Take for example, the classic Springfield, Missouri case of Moore v. Moore from 1960. In Moore, the husband “sought recovery of his soul and freedom by filing a petition for divorce based on ‘general indignities.’” The husband argued that his “freedoms” were being infringed upon, including “the right of a man to be master in his own house, the right of a man to fish and hunt with his friends at reasonable times without interference from the wife, and the right to deal and trade in livestock without the wife’s intervention.”

The husband also took issue with his wife calling him ‘bullheaded’ and ‘a hillbilly’. The court had to decide whether the wife’s actions “amount to a course of conduct such as to render plaintiff’s condition intolerable.”

The court ultimately recognized the husband’s right to fish without female interference, but held that minor infringements on it are not grounds for divorce. The court also found that the term “hillbilly” is not an insult, at least when used in Missouri.

While “the reason why” makes for good TV drama or an entertaining read, the courts simply don’t want to hear it. As long as the party filing for divorce wants a divorce, the courts in Colorado will grant it.

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