IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Ben Carson's opposition to no-fault divorce echoes a popular sentiment on the right

A growing number of prominent conservatives are advocating for divorce to be more legally and financially burdensome.


Ben Carson has become the latest Republican figure to publicly advocate against no-fault divorce, writing in his book that it should either be banned or drastically curtailed so as to protect children from the ostensible harm of growing up in split households, NBC News reported Tuesday.

In his newly published book about his views on the traditional American family, "The Perilous Fight," Carson writes that no-fault divorce "allows marriages to end much more quickly than in previous decades" and that legislation should prevent or reduce such divorces.

“When there are relatively few legal or financial consequences connected with divorce, it’s natural for people to gravitate toward that option when their marriage hits a rough patch,” Carson writes. “What those people often don’t consider, however, is the harm — both present and future — inflicted on their children once a divorce is finalized.”

To abolish no-fault divorce would likely be deeply unpopular with the American public. One could argue that a no-fault divorce can be the most amicable way to end a marriage, and that forcing unhappy parents to stay married could actually be more harmful to children. No-fault divorce, which became legal in every state across the U.S. in 2010, has been connected with a significant improvement in the well-being of women, including lower rates of domestic violence, domestic homicide and suicide among women.

But Carson's feelings on no-fault divorce are not an outlier among conservatives. Despite the de facto party leader's multiple divorces, a growing number of people on the right oppose the dissolution of marriage without spousal consent, including House Speaker Mike Johnson, Sen. Tom Cotton, right-wing media figure Steven Crowder and conservative pundit Matt Walsh. (Mother Jones has a running list of Republican politicians who have publicly supported making divorce more legally and financially burdensome.)

The argument is largely centered on the idea that no-fault divorce laws make ending a marriage "too easy" and are consequently destructive to the sanctity of marriage and traditional family values. Some also argue that it is specifically detrimental to men.