Blog author: kschmiesing
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
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Not to belabor the topic of divorce (following Don Bosch’s interesting post from yesterday), but Acton senior fellow Jennifer Roback Morse has a thought-provoking piece on NCRegister.com on the perverse incentives of marriage law. She makes several important points, but I am most intrigued by her suggestion that the frequency of divorce, combined with the peculiarities of the legal system designed to handle it, has created one of the most invasive areas of American law.

The discussion recalls Dr. Morse’s earlier book (Love and Economics), which argued persuasively that a free society requires virtuous families, for within them are molded citizens capable of handling freedom responsibly. (“Liberty is government of Conscience,” said Lord Acton.) More directly, when families fail to fulfill their role, demand is created for government action. Divorce is but one more example.

None of this should be construed as beating up on those who have suffered broken marriages. It is, instead, a recognition of the far-reaching impact of family life and a reminder to do all we can—individually and as a society (e.g., in law)—to encourage rather than discourage the lasting bond that is the core of the family, “the first school of the social virtues” (Vatican II, Declaration on Christian Education, inter alia).


  • http://www.FamilyLawCourts.com Bonnie Russell

    http://www.FamilyLawCourts.com makes the same point. Although our Constitution promises the least amount of government interference, in truth, family court is the most intrusive form of government invading the home imaginable. Or unimaginable. Imagine being told where you can live, vacation, parent, etc.

  • Karen Weber

    I think the jury is in – divorce is not better for the children and no-fault divorce ends up encouraging divorce as the easy way out. The unwilling partner is left at the mercy of the court system to determine the “value” of their married life as well as the future needs of the innocent children. I pray that I will live long enough to see our country recover from the 60’s mentality!