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DivorcePresidential Candidates Grounds for Divorce

September 12, 2007

A number of the presidential candidates are divorced. Fred Thompson, John McCain and Rudy Guliani are all divorced. Should the reasons for their divorces be fodder for their qualifications as President?

For instance, there has been discussion on the blogosphere about Fred Thompson’s divorce based upon “cruel and inhuman” treatment. Does this mean the Thompson was a wife-beater or a victim of domestic violence?  Not necessarily.

As one commenter pointed out in The Atlantic:

Cruel and inhuman treatment” (or something similar) is a common legal cause of action in the divorce law of many states. In states without no-fault divorce, one needs (or needed) a legal cause of action in order to file for divorce. One of those causes of action is “cruel and inhuman” treatment.

In New York, for instance, where a “No Fault” divorce is not an option, unless the parties are willing to be legally separated for a year, their divorce must be fault based. Cruel and inhuman treatment is one available option for a grounds based divorce.

On the other hand, we will never know if Thompson selected his grounds for divorce because it was a means to an end, a quick divorce, or because there were actually incidents of domestic violence. If an irreconcilable differences grounds for divorce was available, would the Thompson’s have pursued a divorce based on cruel and inhuman treatment?

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