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If you wanted a divorce in the early 1900s, you had to prove your significant other had committed adultery, abused, or abandoned you.
In 1903, the Inter-Church Conference on Marriage and Divorce was held to encourage many churches to prohibit divorce and to call for stricter, nationwide divorce laws — laws that would allow divorce made a huge and lasting impact: Feminism had been gaining ground for more than 50 years, and, with it, more women were deciding they weren't willing to stick around in abusive or unhappy relationships.
The divorce rate reached an all-time high of 43 percent in 1946.
Husbands and wives were still expected to prove adultery or abandonment in order to be granted a divorce, but courts were starting to become more open-minded.
No-fault divorce (along with second-wave feminism and changing sexual mores) created more freedom in marriage for men and women in the '70s — but that had consequences.When a person filed for divorce in most states in the '30s, they still had to prove they were the victim of cruelty, adultery, or abandonment.Since this isn't always easy to do, some people paid professional witnesses to testify to adultery.But these professional witnesses had a tough time finding work as divorce reformers tried to get courts to recognize collusion, or a mutual agreement between partners to terminate their marriage.
In the 1940s, couples rushed to get married before World War II, But during peacetime, the divorce rate soared as those couples dealt with the realities of post-war living and the realization that they weren't as compatible as they thought.The threat of divorce even prompted President Theodore Roosevelt to give states with lax divorce laws a verbal bashing in his 1906 Sixth Annual Message Utah, Indiana, and South Dakota (states considered "divorce mills") where a quickie divorce could be obtained, and accommodations, restaurants, and even events were provided for couples traveling there to put an end to their marriages.