Divorce Corp: Why the American Family-Court System is Broken

"To get divorced, you can't just simply fill out a form that says 'I'm divorced.' You have to go to court and a judge has to approve the divorce," says Divorce Corp's Joe Sorge. "Breaking up is traumatic on its own, nevermind having to go to court and appear before a judge."

Sorge argues that because the legal code to get a divorce is so complex, nearly all respective parties have to hire expensive lawyers and pay legal fees that make the average non-contested divorce cost between $10,000 and $20,000. A contested divorce can run well over $50,000.

"It's the fourth most common cause of bankruptcy in the United States," says Sorge.

Sorge sat down with Reason TV's Tracy Oppenheimer to outline some of these institutional problems and possible resolutions that he addresses in his documentary and accompanying book, both titled Divorce Corp.

About 8 minutes.

Produced by Tracy Oppenheimer. Camera by Zach Weissmueller and Alexis Garcia.

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  • ||

    Don't get me started.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Do you know why divorce is so expensive?

    Because it's worth it.

  • ||

    Mine is the gift that keeps on giving. No, wait. *I'm* the one who has to keep on giving for the rest of that lying, cheating, lazy, evil cunt's life.

    I pray daily for her to get cancer.

  • Dances-with-Trolls||

    Ugh. That's fucked. Sorry for getting you started.

  • ||

    Help me pray for the State of California to get cancer as well.

  • BuSab Agent||

    That should be easy. EVERYTHING is known by the State of California to cause cancer...or at least that's what the stickers tell me.

  • Zeb||

    I think CA already has cancer of the government. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to kill a state all that quickly.

  • steedamike||

    "cancer of the government" - I lol'd

  • Harvard||

    I refuse to acknowledge a complaint about California from anyone dumb enough to still reside there.

  • ||

    I left there years ago. But their court system still rules me.

  • Sudden||

    Some of us are stuck here because of familial obligations combined with careers that heavily concentrate along the west coast.

    Beyond that, we see that many of the people moving out of the state and heading to CO or NV or AZ are bringing their left voting habits along with them and we simply hope that at some point a critical mass of idiots will have left only to turn other states into dystopian hellholes while CA has shed enough idiots to once again thrive.

  • ||

    I moved to Texas which was relatively a paradise. Unfortunately, work obligations then moved me to Illinois, but for all its faults, "family" law is not nearly as onerous here.

  • AlexInCT||

    A few compromising videos and emails, to be released to the general public, and a good lawyer, spared me all that. I got the house and paid the minimum to get rid of her. And that was in the People's Repubic of Connecticut, a state that is always hostile to the male.

    It did help that my kid was turning 18 just 5 months after the divorce was to be finallized. BTW, my laywer wanted me to ask for child support and alimoney, but I just wanted to move on.

  • BuSab Agent||

    I know at least one guy that committed suicide because his life was so fucked up by the divorce. The court ordered him to pay impossibly high child support and alimony (even though she made more than him). For non-payment of money he never had, they swiped his driver's license which caused him to lose the crappy job he had and then faster and faster down hill from there. And the bitch never let him see his kids even though they theoretically had shared custody.

  • Paul.||

    The court ordered him to pay impossibly high child support and alimony (even though she made more than him)

    This is a doosey and I was in the same boat (technically). My divorce was entirely amicable and thankfully, she agreed to walk out of the marriage with what she came in with: debt.

    But on the worksheets, I would have been paying her child support, even though our custody was evenly split and she made more than me.

    It's a lot like taxes, you can deduct certain things from your expenses, and other things you can't. Based on the worksheet, she had deductable work-related expenses which I did not.

    Divorce can be a salad spinner of fuck.

  • kinnath||

    Don't do the crime, if you can't do the time.

  • AlexInCT||

    Nope, don't do it. DON'T DO IT!

  • Paul.||

    Don't get me started.

    Me either.

  • Sudden||

    Every time I hear a story about another's divorce, I am so thankful that mine ended within two years of starting, without children, and with no significant assets to get pillaged from. Summary dissolution may be the two greatest words in the english language.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Yes, the answer is to be like the Scandinavians and make divorce easier!

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    So if Sven is a cheating wife-beater, does that factor into the equation under Scandinavian law?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Or if Ingrid is running a swingers' club out of the home, does she still get to keep the kids?

  • Brett L||

    In America, the answer is only "no" if (1)she is forcing the children to participate and (2)dad doesn't have a drug or DUI conviction.

  • Zeb||

    Well, you've convinced me. Everyone should be forced to stay married unless the Pope grants an annulment.

  • Hillary's Clitdong||

    Everyone should be forced to stay married unless the Pope grants an annulment.

    Forget the Pope. Have the President draw a red line between the divorcing parties.

  • Almanian!||

    So the ex-wife gets government funding through the CIA.....

    GENIUS!

  • Brandon||

    Straw Man V. Straw Man! Who can burn the fastest?

  • Zeb||

    He's the resident Catholic troll. I think it was an appropriate not-too-serious response.

  • Ted S.||

    Wicker Man.

  • Rasilio||

    I thought they were all swingers in Scandinavia?

  • Almanian!||

    I know they are in Czechoslovakia

    *runs clip of 'Two Wild And Crazy Guys' from SNL*

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    No, Eddie, of course society should force two people to remain married when they do not want to be because it knows better what is best for them, any kids and their relationship than they do!

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, as crappy as divorce can be for kids, a lot of married situations are even worse.

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    Yessir!

    My high school GPA jumped an entire point in the semester that my parents divorced, and it stayed at that higher level for the next 2 years. Also, I started to discover that I didn't have to be a social pariah, too!

    Not shockingly, kids are free to be kids when they're not burdened with a disastrous home life.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    My position is a bit more...nuanced that you give me credit for:

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/04.....nt_4454391

  • Brett L||

    Brett's single line summary of American family law: "Which one of you is the male? Guilty!"

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    It will be interesting to see how courts deal with gay-married couples with children. Will the court have to determine which spouse is the male? Which spouse is the female? In a gay relationship, is the pounder the male? Can the receiver be the male? Is there actually a female in any lesbian coupling? WE NEED ANSWERS!

  • UnCivilServant||

    Which really confounds the judges these days.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Well, when your basic MO is to smash the penis, it does get confusing when there is not one involved, or there are two.

    "Family Law" is a reason that anyone who doesn't hate gay people should be opposed to the expansion of marriage. Sure, there will be a few who will benefit, and a giant number who get caught up and royally fucked as only government can do.

    I fear that the Doomcock doesn't have shit on government.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    I have always considered the prospect of Gay Divorce to be one of the stronger arguments n favor of Gay Marriage (which I support), but I'm a Crank.

  • Doctor Whom||

    We live in a society ruled by male privilege and patriarchy. That's just how it is, and when something is just how it is, no amount of evidence can disprove it.

  • Brandon||

    Glory Road addressed this 50 years ago.

  • Zeb||

    I think that's true in the majority of cases, but not universally by any means. I have a slightly different perspective. My wife basically ended up in the situation you more usually find men in when she divorced her first husband for a number of reasons.

  • Brett L||

    It tends to be most true in the part of family law dealing with children. Especially custody. But I will admit that there are definite and equally egregious exceptions to my rule of thumb.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I'm aware of at least two situations where the husband was a practicing attorney with judges for friends. In both cases the wife got royally screwed by the court.

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    My mom made the boneheaded decision to cross state lines with us. Didn't help that her moron attorney sister-in-law was advising her to do it.

    Needless to say, the state was not too happy with that decision. Furthermore, the sister-in-law is now an ex-sister-in-law.

  • Rasilio||

    Hey I think my uncontested divorce cost something like $120. It cost me more to drive back to Georgia and appear in court than to get the divorce itself.

    Course having no kids, little debt, and no assets to speak of certainly helps

  • Paul.||

    Course having no kids, little debt, and no assets to speak of certainly helps

    It doesn't just help, it's everything.

    Having no assets and no kids is the best situation to best situation to be in, period.

    Not having a pot to piss in, unfortunately, is what makes marriage attractive.

  • Sudden||

    My situation as well. Although mine cost $495 in filing fees. And I made that cheating whore pay her $247.50.

  • Almanian!||

    Twenty nine years of marriage, mostly because divorce would be that much worse....

    BUT I KEEEEEEEEEEEED! June 1, baby...29.

  • kinnath||

    38 years last month.

  • kinnath||

    You can commit murder one and be paroled in less time.

  • AlexInCT||

    There's an awesome joke that describes precisely this scenario...

    Some guy that is crying, when asked why, points out that had he just declined to marry the beotch and gone to jail (for whatever reason that was the other choice), he would be paroled today, or something like that.

  • Game of Thrones fan||

    In Westeros, we have more efficient ways to dissolve marriages.

  • Almanian!||

    Speaking of "red lines"...

  • AlexInCT||

    OJ Style, divorces?

  • Paul.||

    "It's the fourth most common cause of bankruptcy in the United States," says Sorge.

    I'm surprised it's only the fourth.

    Again, I postulated in a previous thread (in response to... I think it was Notorious GKC) that the reason marriage rates are dropping is that the younger generation is somewhat wise to the financial pain that divorce causes, and so they're avoiding the prospect altogether.

  • Ecdysis||

    I costs under $100 for an uncontested divorce in Maryland. If the parties come to an agreement themselves in regard to custody and property, it won't cost them any more than $100. Of course, if they can't, they pay a lot in legal fees to negotiate with the other side on these issues. But that is a result of their own disagreements. Once they do finally come to a consent agreement, the court will almost always just sign it.

    I would like to see an article on the "documentary industry" and how they drum up fake activism on unfounded grounds, and make a pretty penny doing it.

  • Paul.||

    I would like to see an article on the "documentary industry" and how they drum up fake activism on unfounded grounds, and make a pretty penny doing it.

    Like how if you get divorced and there are children, you are forced by law to take a "Parenting class" and pay for the privilege?

  • Paul.||

    I mean... I'm just chuckling... ow it hurts.... owow... I need to stop laughing. The government... is going to teach me... how to be a good parent.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "Be sure to lock them up in a cage if you find them doing something naughty."

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Dr. Drew Pinsky covered this very well a few months ago at Dr. Drew.

  • jessicatootillean||

    before I saw the check that said $6940 , I did not believe that my brothers friend was like truley bringing in money in there spare time from there labtop. . there great aunt had bean doing this 4 only about and as of now cleard the mortgage on there house and bourt a gorgeous Citroën 2CV . visit this page......
    http://www.Works23.us

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