If you’re getting a divorce from your partner, you don’t have to tell a judge why you want it. That’s your business and it’s irrelevant for legal purposes. That’s known as a no-fault divorce (or a divorce due to “irreconcilable differences”). 17 states only allow no-fault divorces, meaning you’re not even allowed to claim a reason for wanting it. Nebraska is one of those states.
But one man is trying to change that, making it more difficult for people to get divorced, all because of his religion.
The wife of Michael Dycus recently filed for divorce after 33 years of marriage. But Dycus is challenged it in court, claiming the divorce should not be permitted because his wife Debra didn’t give offer a legitimate reason.
The state’s Supreme Court heard this case on Thursday. While few attorneys believe the case has any merit, a decision in Michael’s favor would be devastating.
So naturally, the Thomas More Society, a conservative Catholic legal group known for its anti-abortion stance, is defending him. Because if there’s a chance to force women into marriages against their will, you know these people are on it.
[Attorney Robert] Sullivan said Michael Dycus is pursuing the case because he objects to divorce on religious grounds and he believes that society isn’t treating marriage with the seriousness it deserves.
Nebraska’s no-fault divorce law allows one spouse to declare the marriage dead, and the courts “rubber stamp that” without giving the other spouse an adequate chance to argue why it should be preserved, said Matthew Heffron, an attorney for the Thomas More Society, which filed a brief urging the court to strike down Nebraska’s law.
If Dycus succeeds, Nebraska would be the only state where you have to give a reason, in court, for why you want to end the marriage. It also implies that a judge should be able to override the decision of someone who desperately wants to end a relationship.
In the past, some people seeking a divorce would just make up a reason — infidelity, abuse, etc. — in order to go through with the paperwork, meaning they were committing perjury in order to get the outcome they wanted. No-fault divorces were a breakthrough, in that regard, because people who were simply unhappy (and felt nothing would change) could just get the divorce without having to justify the breakup to a judge.
Dycus opposes the divorce and apparently thinks his “vote” should cancel hers out. Even if the Supreme Court grants his wish, you have to think it would turn an already shitty marriage into one that’s even worse.
Let’s hope his selfishness doesn’t end up interfering with anyone else who decides a relationship isn’t worth salvaging.