I’d Be Dead If Not For No-Fault Divorce

Republicans are trying to get rid of it permanently.

Woman taking off wedding ring after surviving an abusive relationship doidam10, shisuka | Canva

My ex-husband was a monster.

When I first met him, I dismissed him as silly. He was dressed like an 80s heavy metal star, complete with black eyeliner, ripped jeans, and long spiky hair. After a prior divorce, I felt like the world’s biggest loser, but suddenly I was being complimented on everything by this new guy. My hungry heart ate it up with a spoon. I convinced myself I was in love.

After we got married, I saw glimpses of him that scared me. He yelled at me for the slightest things, and the yelling could go on for hours. He said he wished he could punch me. On top of everything, he turned out to be a full-blown alcoholic and drug addict. He fed me little blue opiate pills that turned into a roaring substance abuse issue that I barely survived.


Near the end, he began pushing me around. He trapped me in our bathroom and shook me forcefully. One time, he threw me down onto a wood floor and pinned my arms so I couldn’t get away when he was yelling. I feared I would never get away.

I was one of the lucky ones. I left my husband while he was at work and checked into a women’s halfway house because I knew he couldn’t follow me there. They also helped me stop taking the pills he had given me. A short time later, I filed for a no-fault divorce.


My soon-to-be ex-husband did not show up for the court date, although I paid for his court fees. I did that because I was desperate to get him permanently out of my life. 

In front of the judge, I tried to explain the abuse I suffered. I didn’t have any proof of how my husband treated me, but the judge granted my no-fault divorce without a single moment’s hesitation. Finally, I was a free woman, and I was incredibly grateful.

RELATED: 5 Early Warning Signs Of An Abusive Relationship

According to Vice News, Ohio Republican nominee, J.D. Vance, spoke to a group of high school students in California and argued for an end to no-fault divorce. Vance claimed that people now "shift spouses like they change their underwear." Vance felt it had done long-term damage to a generation of children. He added that people needed to be more willing to stay in unhappy marriages, and he seemed to suggest that in some cases even "violent marriages" should continue.


Ending no-fault divorces seems to be Republicans' new pet project. This is after severely limiting abortions in several states and in some cases making it criminal.

I don’t agree that Republicans are doing this because they want to honor the "sanctity" of marriage. The real reason is to control women, their bodies, and now their personal safety.

I’m convinced that if I couldn’t get a no-fault divorce, I would have died. Maybe my husband would have given me too many pills at a time and caused an accidental overdose. Maybe he would have started punching me the way he dreamed about, or maybe he would have done worse.

I felt like a prisoner the more time I spent with him. He crossed every line I tried to draw to keep myself safe. The way he talked about killing himself made me fear a murder/suicide situation. I already felt dead inside while I was married to him, but staying with him would have destroyed me.


RELATED: How I Left My Abusive Husband — And What Finally Healed My Heart

No-fault divorce in the United States was first adopted in California in 1969. New York was the last state in the country to pass the law in 2010. The law states that one party can successfully dissolve a marriage without the need to first prove wrongdoing by the other partner. This includes adultery, abuse, or desertion.

I’m not surprised at all that Republicans want to end this practice. It’s part of their agenda to control women in this country. They began by passing extreme abortion laws in red states, and I doubt they have any plans to stop there. Ending no-fault divorce was a given, and it’s going to hurt all kinds of women suffering from physically or emotionally abusive marriages.

There’s no reason women need to be trapped by abusive men in a free country.


The laws that conservatives pass make people less safe rather than offering them help. It’s a total power play and a massive control issue. Just the idea that a lawmaker can insert themselves into someone’s marriage without knowing the first thing about it is intrusive and dangerous.

According to Media Matters, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas weighed in on the recent Dobbs decision that overturned Roe vs. Wade. He made it clear that the right is interested in rolling back marriage equality. "We have a duty to 'correct the error' established in these precedents," Thomas wrote. It’s a bad sign that neither adultery nor abuse will someday be good enough reasons to grant a divorce.

The mere idea of this is heartbreaking. Surely, women who are forced to stay married to violent men will face greater injury and even death. If a woman is not allowed to escape her abuser, she’s basically a sitting duck for more severe abuse since her husband knows he can do it without her being able to divorce him.

RELATED: LGBTQ+ People Are Fleeing Red States, And Some Feel It's The Wrong Move


I went through several years of therapy to help heal what my husband did to me while we were married. By the time I got out, I didn’t know which end was up and was caught in a trauma bond with him. Psychologically, I was incredibly damaged by PTSD and lived life frozen in time until I started to recover. It’s taken a lot of hard work to get past the abuse and truly live with freedom.

It’s hard for me not to think of the people still suffering in abusive marriages. Republicans aiming to change the laws about who can get divorced certainly aren’t considering them. Instead, they want misogynistic laws on the books that would ensure men that their women are property and that they can do whatever they want to them. Instead of protecting women, they are ensuring that the violence will escalate.

I realize I’m very fortunate to have gotten a no-fault divorce several years ago. However, it’s important that all women have the power to do the same if needed. Otherwise, we’re not living in a free country anymore.

If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, you’re not alone.


The National Domestic Violence Hotline reports that approximately 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in the U.S. More than 12 million women and men over the course of the year suffer from instances of domestic violence and abuse.

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse or violence, there are resources to get help.

There are ways to go about asking for help as safely as possible. For more information, resources, legal advice, and relevant links visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline. For anyone struggling with domestic abuse, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474 or log onto thehotline.org.

RELATED: I Was In A Horrifyingly Abusive Marriage — And Didn't Even Know It


Glenna Gill is a writer and blogger from Charlotte, North Carolina. Her articles have been featured in Scary Mommy and P.S. I Love You. When I Was Lost is her first full-length book, a memoir of love, loss, and hope.