The unchallenged view of the family as a basic and vital institution in the fabric of Western society has generated a continuing interest in legal questions concerning it. More particularly, an abiding concern has been manifested over whether and under what conditions a dissolution of the family unit ought to be permitted. Historically, we have moved from a period during which such questions were of exclusive ecclesiastical concern to one in which the civil law and its courts have undertaken the tasks of determining such issues. Building upon the approach of its clerical predecessors, civil divorce law in Western countries has retained a basically fault-oriented approach, premised upon the commission of a specific "matrimonial offense." More recently, in the United States in particular, this traditional fault-orientation has been leavened by the introduction of so-called nonfault grounds for divorce, principal among which is that providing for a divorce to be granted following a specified period of separation. The law of divorce appears to be subject to a continuing liberalizing trend of which such non-fault increments are one manifestation. This paper represents a modest effort at contributing to the discussion of this trend. It is, however, not intended as a comprehensive treatment of all facets of divorce but only of divorce grounds.
Charles W. Tenney Jr.,
Divorce without Fault: The Next Step,
46 Neb. L. Rev. 24
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