It does not however mean that the repeal or reform of no-fault divorce will effectively reduce the rate of divorce generally. Indeed, at this moment in time, I really want to believe that at this moment in time a fault requirement would do more harm than good. In the short term, the need to establish a legal finding of fault may prevent some divorces from happening, and encourage couples that are contemplating divorce to work out their marital difficulties. But the deterrent effect is likely to be weak. A lot of people do not think of divorce until their marriage is in very bad shape; by which time, the marriage will be very difficult to salvage. Moreover, the fault requirement would also be indiscriminate in its deterrent effect. Some marriages especially those that involve physical violence and abuse that rightfully should end will be preserved. Unfortunately, fault is likely to be most successful in deterring socially isolated women, often-battered wives, from seeking divorce. It would be wrong indeed if a pro-marriage policy unintentionally became a pro-bad-marriage policy, giving aid and comfort to the critics of the institution.
Fault law invites unending litigation, and thus intensifies and prolongs conflict. Requiring fault would be bound to hurt the children (if there are any) who will be caught in the middle. On thing we should have learned from thirty years of high divorce, is that: When divorcing parents have legal incentives to fight, they will. And fault gives them yet another incentive. Inevitably, children will be recruited as informants and witnesses in the legal battle to establish fault. The faultfinding may also be exploited to prejudice or interfere with the child's attachment to the parent who is at fault. Of course, this ugly practice of blaming and discrediting the other parent goes on under no-fault divorce law, but fault will provide legal justification for such behavior. Moreover, establishing fault in contested cases would require more aggressive and time-consuming litigation and thus more billable hours from lawyers, therapists, private investigators, pension specialists, expert witnesses, and all the others in the divorce industry. This will create financial constraints and burdens for those who can least afford it. The Ivana Trumps of this world may have the resources to fight a protracted fault battle (and to win some of its spoils) but not the average first wife, especially if she has spent her life as a full-time wife and homemaker. Since most legislation limits fault to contested divorces involving children, children are likely to be the biggest economic losers. Marital assets will be squandered and dissipated in fault battles, leaving fewer resources for the maintenance and care of the children after the divorce. Some proponents of fault argue for higher barriers to divorce, as this in their reasoning will increase commitment to marriage. They say the harder it is to get divorce, the more couples will try to maintain their marriages right from the beginning. This argument seems appealing viewing it on the surface, but it is not so persuasive when viewed critically, especially when we consider those that will be most heavily influenced by the reintroduction of fault: the young adults approaching marriage for the first time. Today's young adults, many of who are products of divorced marriages, are more ignorant and wary of marriage than the earlier