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Journal Issue: Children and Divorce Volume 4 Number 1 Spring/Summer 1994

Historical Perspective and Current Trends in the Legal Process of Divorce
Sanford N. Katz


American divorce laws and the process by which they are implemented have undergone enormous changes during the past half century. The reasons for these changes are complex but essentially have a great deal to do with changes in the nature, idea, and definition of family relationships—especially that of husband and wife—changes in the social mores, shifts in the political climate as a result of the impact of various of the civil rights movements, and changes in the legal profession.1 Some laws that have changed regarding the process of divorce are mentioned below. Many of the topics that are discussed in this article also receive more in-depth attention in various articles throughout this journal issue. (A topic that is not addressed below is changes in child custody laws. For a complete discussion of this topic, see the article by Kelly in this journal issue.)