A Judicial Dilemma In The Age Of Fault-Based DivorcePosted: April 11, 2014
While reading some historical materials the other day, I came across an interview of a judge, long since deceased, who described how he resolved an interesting divorce case in the years before Connecticut adopted its no-fault divorce statute. I’m interested in readers’ reactions to how the judge handled the case.
The parties seeking the divorce had been living apart for nearly a decade and had entered into relationships with new partners, which had produced new children. The parties came before the judge and described these facts, which clearly revealed that both parties had committed adultery. Under the fault-based divorce regime in effect at the time, a party who had committed adultery could not obtain a divorce. Thus, on the facts as presented to the judge, where both parties had committed adultery, neither could obtain a divorce from the other.
Confronted with this state of affairs, the judge picked up the phone and called a colleague elsewhere in the courthouse. The judge said, “Mike, I’m sending you two parties who want to get divorced. Don’t ask too many questions.” The parties went to the new judge, who did not ask too many questions, and were granted a divorce.
Was justice done? Did the two judges effectively conspire to achieve an outcome contrary to the law? Do you think their actions were justified?