It was not very long ago that when a married person in Kentucky wanted to get a divorce, they had to provide a specific reason. If their spouse objected, they might have been forced to go to trial to prove that their motivation for ending the marriage was real. For example, a spouse may have had to bring evidence before a judge to prove that their wife or husband was committing infidelity.
Besides the embarrassment of having to expose your family’s problems in a public court, fault-based divorce also likely forced millions of Americans to remain in unhappy marriages. Unless you could prove that a specific thing was ruining your marriage — generally things like infidelity, cruelty, bigamy, fraud, insanity or abandonment — you could not get divorced.
The rise of no-fault divorce
That started to change in the U.S. in 1970 when California became the first state to institute no-fault divorce. That allowed a married person to seek a divorce based on nothing more than the claim that the marriage is “irrevocably broken.” Since then, every state, including Kentucky, has passed laws allowing no-fault divorce.
Why reasons for divorce still get disclosed sometimes
Though the old justifications for divorce are no longer needed, they often still come up in divorce cases. When they do, it is usually an attempt to show one spouse is an unfit parent or as leverage to get a larger share of marital property. Something like this may be going on in the divorce of hip-hop producer Dr. Dre, whose wife has accused him of verbal abuse and not allowing her to spend money during their separation.
Such public claims may be a necessary strategy in some cases. But thanks to no-fault divorce, Kentucky’s family law courts no longer require divorcing spouses to disclose the issues that triggered the divorce filing.