Jennifer Roback Morse on the injustice of the American family court system

I find myself thinking about life-long married love on Valentine’s Day, so I’m going to post an article by marriage-defender Jennifer Roback Morse about one of the biggest challenges to life-long married love.


Easy divorce opens the door for an unprecedented amount of government intrusion into ordinary people’s lives. This unacknowledged reality is the subject of Taken Into Custody, by Stephen BaskervilleWith penetrating insight, the political scientist exposes the truly breathtaking consequences of no-fault divorce for the expansion of state power and the decline of personal autonomy.

First, no-fault divorce frequently means unilateral divorce: one party wants a divorce against the wishes of the other, who wants to stay married. Kim Basinger dumped Baldwin for no particular reason, unleashed the power of the Los Angeles Family Court system to inflict pain on him and, in the process, inflicted untold damage on their child. Second, the fact that one party wants to remain married means that the divorce has to be enforced. Baldwin wanted to stay married and to continue to be a husband and father. Yet, the coercive and intrusive machinery of the state must be wheeled into action to separate the reluctantly divorced party from the joint assets of the marriage, typically the home and the children.

Third, enforcing the divorce means an unprecedented blurring of the boundaries between public and private life. People under the jurisdiction of family courts can have virtually all of their private lives subject to its scrutiny. If the courts are influenced by feminist ideology, that ideology can extend its reach into every bedroom and kitchen in America. Baldwin ran the gauntlet of divorce industry professionals who have been deeply influenced by the feminist presumptions that the man is always at fault and the woman is always a victim. Thus, the social experiment of no-fault divorce, which most Americans thought was supposed to increase personal liberty, has had the consequence of empowering the state.

Some might think the legacy of no-fault divorce is an example of the law of unintended consequences in operation. That assumes its architects did not intend for unilateral divorce to result in the expansion of the state. But Baskerville makes the case in this book—as well as his 2008 monograph, “The Dangerous Rise of Sexual Politics,” in The Family in America—that at least some of the advocates of changes in family law certainly have intended to expand the power of the state over the private lives of law-abiding citizens.

She explains who is really behind the attempt to destroy marriage, and the answer might shock you.

It’s important for people to understand the real reasons why people are not getting married, so that we can do something to encourage them to marry that really fixes the problem. Talk to any man and he will tell you that aside from the concerns about the economy and the national debt, the main reason why he is not willing to get married is the unfairness of the family courts. If you don’t understand the threats that men are seeing with respect to marriage, it might be a good idea to take a look at this essay by Stephen Baskerville, hosted by the Christian Touchstone magazine. It’s a summary of the book that Dr. Morse reviewed. I consider that book “Taken Into Custody” to be a must-read for anyone contemplating marriage.

4 thoughts on “Jennifer Roback Morse on the injustice of the American family court system”

  1. No-fault divorce can be and is often used to legitimize adultery. Before no-fault divorce, if you wanted to act on your lust you ran the risk of your spouse initiating an at-fault divorce and losing assets and children. With no-fault divorce, if you decide that you would rather chase after someone else then all you have to do is divorce your spouse first. Once you have that divorce decree and child custody arrangement in hand, you can go off and chase whomever you wish without having to worry about losing your children or losing child support/alimony or losing any of the marital assets you retained after the divorce.


    1. Good point, Ken! But I think the real driver was women who chose bad boys for husbands and then wanted out because they were not happy, together with the trial layer lobby who knew they could make a killing if they killed marriage.


      1. And your point leads me to ponder another bad side effect of no-fault divorce, it makes marriage cheap to do on a trial basis. So, if you can’t change your man (or woman) in the first few years or find them boring after awhile, it’s easy to back out.


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