Some people still believe they can stop a divorce by refusing to accept a summons. They can’t.
The most significant impact of the liberalization of divorce that began 40 years ago is that one spouse cannot deny the other a divorce.
In the bad old days before no-fault divorce, one spouse could make it all but impossible for the other to end the marriage. In years gone by, loveless spouses showed no end of ingenuity in ways to trap their partners in the shells of dead marriages, usually for reasons related to money and social position.
Today, the liberalization of divorce, which began in 1970 in California, means that if someone wants out of a marriage, the other spouse cannot trap him or her. Put another way, no-fault in practice means that no one has to stay married if he or she does not want to.
Liberalization does not make divorce easy. In the vast majority of cases, one spouse wants to end the marriage and the other does not, at least at the onset. And sometimes the reluctant spouse stalls the divorce in the hopes of a change of heart or out of spite. But these dilatory tactics eventually come to an end.