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Divorce has a long legal tradition here in America

Divorce has been helping couples get out of broken marriages for quite a long time now here in Texas and the rest of America. An anniversary that occurred this Monday is a testament to how long of a legal tradition divorce has in America.

The anniversary was the 372nd anniversary of what is believed to be the second divorce to have ever occurred in colonial America. This divorce occurred in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was finalized on Jan. 5, 1643. The divorce was granted on the grounds that the husband in the marriage committed bigamy. The divorce that is believed to have been the first one in colonial America also occurred in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and happened not too long before the above-mentioned divorce.

Thus, for nearly 400 years now couples have been getting divorced in America. America of course has changed quite a bit over this time, going from British colonies, to a newly independent nation to the world power it is today. What divorce cases look like in America has also changed significantly during this time. Here are some examples of areas in which big changes have occurred over the years when it comes to divorce:

  • How common divorces are. The 17th Century Massachusetts and Connecticut colonies saw about one divorce a year. In modern America, divorces are obviously vastly more common. 
  • What grounds divorces are granted on. As the fact that the second divorce in colonial America was granted on the grounds of bigamy underscores, divorces in America used to only be granted on fault grounds. Today, no-fault grounds are available for divorce.
  • What sorts of issues tend to be the major areas of focus in a divorce. As economic, social, legal and technological developments occurred in America, they spurred changes in what issues tend to be important ones in a divorce.

Source: Smithsonian, "The Second Divorce in Colonial America Happened Today in 1643," Laura Clark, Accessed Jan. 8, 2015

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