Friday, December 14, 2012

December 14: Indiana is the Divorce Capital

On this date in History .... 1858:

Indiana’s reputation as the “Reno of the Midwest” and “Divorce Capital” was condemned by a Chicago Press and Tribune editorial on Indiana’s liberal divorce laws. Indiana was the state the couples swarmed to for a quick and easy divorce. A person merely had to show proof of residence (no length requirement) and swear there was “statutory cause” for the divorce. The Chicago paper accused Indiana of legalizing “Free Love” and it’s “abominations”, stating it was becoming a state of loose women and fast men.

The reason for such liberality is not really known but one suggested idea is attributed to Robert Owen and his utopian views.  Owen helped his father establish a utopian society in New Harmony, IND., an experiment that failed financially in just two years.  Owen’s “vigorous espousal of the rights of women” could have had an effect on the attitudes in the new frontier state.

Indiana revived its divorce laws in the 1870’s, & in the meantime, other states’ lax laws to end marriage were overtaking whatever Indiana might have had on the books.


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