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Fifty-Year Anniversary of California No-Fault Divorce Brings History Into Spotlight

On the 50-year anniversary of California's signing of the first no-fault law in the United States, family lawyer Nathalie Paluch, of the Law Office of Peter A. Lauzon, celebrates with a look back on the history of this momentous law and what it has done for women and men who dissolved marriages in a more safe, transparent and equitable manner.

When Herma Kay, attorney and law professor, drafted the Family Law Act of 1969 with the intent of women being "free and conscious actors [without anything standing] in the way of their self-realization," she inspired Nathalie Paluch in her own practice of the law.

Says Paluch, "The no-fault divorce gave all California residents the opportunity to decide for themselves who they would or would not like to share their lives with. California was truly a pioneer in offering this before any other state and before many other developed nations."

Nathalie Paluch is available to give comment on the historic timeline of some of the pivotal gains for women in family law in the US over the past three centuries:

  • 2010 - All 50 states permit no-fault divorce
  • 1984-2004 - Research shows a 20% drop in suicides and a 33% drop in domestic violence in no-fault states
  • 1986 - Canada pioneers the no-fault divorce
  • 1980 - California pioneers the "collaborative divorce"
  • 1975 - Australia pioneers no-fault divorce
  • 1969 - California pioneers the no-fault divorce
  • 1960's - Women homemakers had no access to bank accounts or credit and marriage was considered legally indissoluble in California
  • 1819 - Divorce in Alabama required a bill approved by two-thirds of the state legislature
  • 1800's - Wives were considered property of husbands

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