Reno Divorces, Part 2
[This is the conclusion of a two part story for Charlie Chan in Reno, from Rush Glick's excellent notes on the movie from the same website as our Monday Night Chat Room, www.charliechan.info (8:00 PM to 10:00 PM, Eastern Time). Please join us this week in Reno!]
The results [of changing the laws to be more divorce-friendly] were amazing. According to the Reno Divorce Racket, a special focus magazine on the divorce trade, the first month after Nevada's six-week requirement passed 517 divorce suits were filed and 331 decrees handed down. In 1926 the Nevada courts granted 1,021 divorces. After the lower residency requirement in 1927 the figure almost doubled to 1,953. The 1930 divorces numbered 2,609 and in 1931 the number of divorces almost doubled at 5,260. By 1940 Nevada accounted for 49 out of 1000 divorces in the United States.
Attorney fees alone brought in $100,000 a month. That does not even consider the hotels, casinos, restaurants and merchants. An estimated $5 million annually was brought to Nevada by the divorce trade, according to Richard Lilliard in his book, "Desert Challenge: An Interpretation of Nevada.
Aside from the money brought to Nevada by the divorce racket, Nevada also gained a notoriety for the famous divorces in Reno. Mary Pickford, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr., Jack Dempsey, Estelle Taylor, Earl Russell, and Laura B. Corey name just a few of the famous divorces. In Las Vegas, Eddie Fisher, a record star, divorced to marry Elizabeth Taylor, then a young actress noted as one of the most beautiful women in the world.
"Reno no longer plays a role as the divorce capital," [William D.] Rowley said. However. the legend lives on.
From: "Reno Divorce History," an article by Amber Martin, University of Nevada, Reno.