Churches: Observe Fortieth Anniversary of 'No Fault Divorce' With Marriage Education

September 29, 2009

By Glenn Tilton

A change that has wreaked havoc on American families took place just 40 years ago. Then-California Governor Ronald Reagan signed the "No Fault Divorce" bill in 1969, when he apparently was still smarting from his 1948 divorce, which actress Jane Wyman obtained on grounds of "mental cruelty." Mr. Reagan later said that signing the no-fault law was "one of the worst mistakes" he ever made in office.
His son, Michael Reagan, wrote in his book, Twice Adopted, that he was only three years old when his father and Miss Wyman divorced. His description of divorce, "where two adults take everything that matters to a child - the child's home, family, security, and sense of being loved and protected - and they smash it all up, leave it in ruins on the floor, then walk out and leave the child to clean up the mess," still resonates today, fault or no-fault.   
Can Humpty Dumpty be made whole again? Yes, divorce need not be the necessary end to marital troubles. Churches can mark the 40th anniversary of the no fault law by helping couples stay together through marriage education. To find out more about ABIDE in LOVE, Healthy Marriage for United Methodists, contact Glenn and Gwen Tilton at