Divorce lawyers hear many reasons for filing for divorce. “My spouse is too beautiful”, however, is a new one. But it does not matter as most states abolished fault as a ground for divorce. But in some state legislatures there is an effort to overturn our system of no-fault divorce.
In the eye of the beholder
A prominent right-wing commentator, Steven Crowder, is making waves this month after he complained his ex-wife started the divorce process on her own. Crowder emphasized the divorce was against his will, and is blaming the no-fault system of divorce:
“Since 2021, I’ve been living through what has become a horrendous divorce. . . This was not my choice. My then wife decided she didn’t want to be married anymore. And, in the state of Texas, that is completely permitted.”
Crowder’s comments come on the back of recent proposals by state legislatures to overturn no-fault divorce laws on the books in Texas, Nebraska, and Louisiana. The repeal of no-fault divorce would hit Zambian husband, Arnold Masuka, hard.
Masuka has taken the extraordinary step of seeking the dissolution of his marriage because his wife is exceptionally beautiful.
This surprising revelation left officials and witnesses in awe at a local court in the Zambian capital city of Lusaka. The newspaper, Zambian Observer, reported that during the divorce proceedings, Masuka shocked those present in court when he candidly expressed to the judge that his wife, Hilda Muleya, possessed a beauty that had caused him countless sleepless nights.
The sheer allure of his wife had become an overwhelming source of anxiety for him, leading him to make this unconventional request. Masuka explained to the court that he lived in a state of perpetual fear, constantly worried about the possibility of losing his wife to another man.
Florida No-Fault Divorce
The official term for divorce in Florida is “dissolution of marriage”, and you don’t need fault as a ground for divorce. Florida abolished fault as a ground for divorce. Interestingly, given the recent attack on no-fault divorce, it was former Governor Ronald Reagan of California who signed the nation’s first no-fault divorce bill.
The no fault divorce law eliminated the need for couples to fabricate spousal wrongdoing in pursuit of a divorce; indeed, one likely reason for Reagan’s decision to sign the bill was that his first wife, Jane Wyman, had unfairly accused him of “mental cruelty” to obtain a divorce in 1948.
I’ve written about divorce and infidelity issues before. The no-fault concept in Florida means you no longer have to prove a reason for the divorce, like your wife’s exceptional beauty. Instead, you just need to state under oath that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
Before the no-fault divorce era, people who wanted to get divorce either had to reach agreement in advance with the other spouse that the marriage was over or throw mud at each other and prove wrongdoing like adultery or abuse.
No-fault laws were the result of trying to change the way divorces played out in court. No fault laws have reduced the number of feuding couples who felt the need to resort to distorted facts, lies, and the need to focus the trial on who did what to whom.
Lost in Lusaka
Masuka’s increasing fear of his wife’s beauty had grown so intense, that he found himself hesitating to leave his wife Hilda unattended. He stopped going to work, and was totally consumed by the nagging thought that his wife might be lured away by other suitors.
In Masuka’s eyes, Hilda, originally from Gokwe, Zimbabwe, was the epitome of beauty. Among all the women he had encountered in his life, none had captivated him quite like her. This powerful attraction had become both a blessing and a burden, fueling his insecurity and prompting him to take this unusual legal recourse.
As the court listened attentively to Masuka’s heartfelt plea, it became evident that his intentions were driven by genuine concern for his wife’s well-being. However, whether the dissolution of their marriage was a viable solution remained to be seen.
Ultimately, the fate of Arnold Masuka’s marriage rests in the hands of the court, which will consider the implications of his request for dissolution.
The Nigeria World article is here.