In Colorado, as throughout the United States, the increase in the divorce rate over the last century or so is generally viewed as an unfortunate development. But as a recent article pointed out, in the developing world the increased availability of divorce is associated with positive trends in society. In Africa, Latin America and Asia, liberalization of divorce laws goes hand in hand with improvements in the equality and economic status of women.
Simply put, divorce gives women more options. If a woman is free to get out of an unhappy marriage, and if divorce laws make sure she can do so on a reasonably safe economic footing, she can enter the work force and live a productive and satisfying life. When the legal position of women improves, their economic status improves, and their children are better off as well.
One of the most important benefits that liberalized divorce laws have provided for women is the fair distribution of property. In Colorado, the property division process is designed in part to ensure that a spouse who contributed less financially to the marriage is still treated equally when it comes time to divide assets. Property obtained during the marriage by either spouse is considered marital property in Colorado, and is subject to equitable division between the spouses.
Another benefit of divorce in Colorado is alimony, or spousal maintenance. When a woman has put a career on hold to raise children, the law recognizes that contribution and requires the other spouse to pay alimony long enough for the former homemaker to get the training and experience necessary to rejoin the work force.
Divorce is an unhappy experience to go through. But in the long run it can be a liberating experience, not only for individuals but for the community as a whole.
Source: Bloomberg Business Week, “Divorce’s Rise in Emerging Economies Helps Women Get Ahead,” Charles Kenny, Sept. 5, 2013