Texas Legislator Seeks To Get Rid Of No-Fault Divorces and To Delay The Finalization Of Divorces

thumb_wedding_rings2465Matt Krause is a deeply religious man who feels that people too easily divorce. That is clearly understandable view and probably speaks well of his own marriage. However, Krause is also a Texas state representative and wants to make that decision more difficult for his neighbors. He has introduced bills that should more divorces more expensive and more time-consuming and thus more difficult for couples to secure. This is a point where libertarians and some conservatives part ways. As someone with strong libertarian tendencies, I recoil at the government enforcing moral codes on a couples in making it difficult for them to divorce after they have made that difficult decision within her marriage or families. He would specifically bar no-fault divorces to protect the sanctity of marriage.

The Fort Worth Republican would more than double the amount of time a couple must wait to finalize a divorce from 60 days to 180 days. There is no reason for such a delay other than to make things for difficult for such couples. However, it is the elimination of no-fault divorces that is most problematic. Currently, all 50 states offer no-fault divorce. Indeed, in 17 states and the District of Columbia, you can only file for divorce on no-fault grounds. Absent such an option, couples would have to accuse each other of being cruel or adulterous or being felons. That will make divorces nastier and only deepen the harm for these families. Studies have indicated that the rise of no-fault divorces has seen a corresponding decrease in suicides by wives as well as abuse allegations.

I am sympathetic with the notion that couples need to work out problems in the interests of their families. However I have seen many broken marriages and seen the parents adopt positive attitudes in their separation to protect their children. The option of a no-fault divorce makes such amicable divorces possible and I believe that it is far better for the children than arbitrarily lengthen the period for divorces and force parents to level charges against each other in order to be allowed to go their separate ways. That is a matter for them and their families. They may be religious or non-religious. They may share Krause’s moral or may not share those morals. It is their faith, their marriage, their lives. Not Krause’s.

Krause ran for office as someone who would bring his faith to his public office. He is the son of a Baptist pastor and his mother is a teacher of the Castle Hills First Baptist School (from where he graduated). Krause attended San Diego Christian College and is a graduate in the very first graduating class of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University School of Law in Lynchburg, Virginia. He then opened a Texas office of Liberty Counsel. He is entitled to his views and clearly reflects the views of a majority of his constituents. However, he would rightfully object if other religions sought to impose their moral code on this family or try to make family decisions more difficult to reflect their own moral codes. I am all in favor of Krause campaigning to educate couples to resist the temptation to divorce and to try to resolve differences in the interests of their children. It is his use of public powers that is problematic for those of us who prefer to keep the government out of our homes and private affairs.

What do you think?

98 thoughts on “Texas Legislator Seeks To Get Rid Of No-Fault Divorces and To Delay The Finalization Of Divorces”

  1. I think all men as part of the wedding vows should have a prenuptial clause that states the woman should put up $50k for each sperm donation that results in a child.
    Escrow these funds until the marriage is dissolved and then the male spouse would get those funds.
    Just a thought 😎

  2. My husband was married twice — both times the women left him – it was excrutiating and not his fault. But I am glad those selfish, hateful women did so because we just celebrated our 11th year together. Every day I am thankful to have such an amazing spouse — our marriage has had ups and downs like any other, but we are wholly committed to each others’ well being. Maybe being more mature is key — as well as genuinely LIKING one’s mate. We have many shared interests, yet we also give each other lots of space as he’s more of an introvert and I run more extrovert. I think a lot of people get married expecting it to be like a Hollywood film and when it isn’t they cut and run. Now both his former spouses are divorced again. =)

    I do have several friends who have stayed together “for the kids” and it is not a pretty picture. The kids see the parents constantly fighting and do not have a healthy role model for later relationships.

    Squeek – re the 40 year old thang – I personally know of 4 women(aside from my husband’s spouses) who just up and left their spouses around that age — for no reason – their husbands were all decent blokes and were shocked – never saw it coming. One even LEFT the kids!!

    I do think that people should be free to leave though…. Maybe we need some classes in high school that addresses what marriage means…

    1. I do have several friends who have stayed together “for the kids” and it is not a pretty picture. The kids see the parents constantly fighting and do not have a healthy role model for later relationships.

      Their fighting has to do with their own shortcomings. Whether they’re together for ‘the kids’ or some other reason is immaterial. See Judith Wallerstein’s work. The question is not whether it’s a ‘pretty picture’ or not, but of how injurious is domestic conflict all things considered and whether or not a legal divorce ends the conflict. (Wallerstein’s work suggests that the answers are ‘less injurious than divorce proceedings’ and ‘usually no’).

      1. re: “Their fighting has to do with their own shortcomings. Whether they’re together for ‘the kids’ or some other reason is immaterial.”

        Sure, I agree with the first sentence, but my point is that the kids suffer being trapped in a household where hateful rejoinders/behaviors are the norm. At least if the parents get divorced the kids will at least have some space not filled with fighting.

        1. Uh huh. The kids will suffer if they separate and keep fighting, which the smart money says is what will happen. The kids will suffer if they have to contend with step-parents unless the step-parents are adept at cleaning up other people’s messes. Problem: the messes are seldom so severe that calling in a third party to clean them up is going to help. It’s really much cheaper and more orderly for them to figure out what the source of their arguments. Consulting counselors is a problem, because they’re usually favored by wives as an instrument to justify a divorce or to call in a 3d party to get the husband to see things her way. Counselors know which side their bread is buttered on and often co-operate with such schemes.

          1. In this particular case the husband is a selfish spoiled rotten dick. There is no way to fix him because he does not care. Right now one of the kids is living with her parents and excelling in school. The boy needed stability which was not possible in their home. The oldest will graduate and go off to college in the fall and the little one will live with his mother and grandparents and the mother will get a job and eventually get a place of her own..

      1. The moderator’s complaint (and that of several others here) is that the man proposes to restore common dispensations in matrimonial law. Their complaint is that durability is assumed and that any marriage is anything but a unilaterally-terminable at-will arrangement.

    2. Autumn, Your husband got the better deal! We just moved after 33 years in the same house. I read where moving is as stressful as divorce. That’s a lotta stress! We’ve been married almost 40 years. Both my bride’s and my parents stayed married till death.

      1. Nick, I am not an easy person to be married to as you might imagine given my often contankerous posts =) Indeed amongst family and close friends he’s known as St. Dave! Wow, 40 years – congratulations to you and your bride. Moving is stressful, but you two obviously have built up a very sturdy foundation. I hope you have many more years together!

  3. There are many societies that would welcome this sort of thumper, Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc.

    More of a Republican sort of thing. Let’s make America great again.

  4. For a taste of how divorce used to work in the era where fault had to be proven, watch old movies and TV shows. Off the top of my head: films like “The Women” and “The Misfits”, starring Marilyn Monroe, which begins with her just obtaining her Nevada divorce. Check out Perry Mason, too, where this sort of thing was a common theme. Often, one partner would blackmail the other in some manner or another by contesting the divorce, unless the other partner gave them what they wanted, in which case, they wouldn’t contest. That way, one partner received property, support or money he or she wouldn’t otherwise be entitled to. This lead to murders, Mexican divorces, going to Nevada and establishing “citizenship” by staying in special “divorce hotels” or ranches for about 6 weeks, at which point, citizenship was established. Divorce is bad enough under good circumstances, but this system resulted in additional pain and bitterness. It is wrong.

    The government has no business attempting to force people to stay married to one another, or making it more difficult and expensive. Whatever assumptions this theory relies on are irrelevant, because the government cannot force someone to love another or want to live with someone you just don’t love any more. Oftentimes, people change as they age, or they concealed their bad sides until after the marriage. Sometimes, through no one’s fault, one party meets someone else and falls in love. Again, people are imperfect, but the freedom to move on with one’s life after falling out of love should not be curtailed by the government.

    1. For a taste of how divorce used to work in the era where fault had to be proven, watch old movies and TV shows

      What’s bizarre is that you would utter this statement without realizing it makes you sound like an idiot.

      The ‘Reno divorce’ was a novelty when Clare Boothe Luce was writing. < 5% of all divorces granted were migratory during the period running from 1934 to 1959.

    2. The government has no business attempting to force people to stay married to one another, or making it more difficult and expensive.

      The government’s business is enforcing contracts. You want to be married or not, b****? If you don’t want to be married, try your hand at prostitution or concubinage. If you do want to be married, read the vows and understand what they mean.

      1. DSS –

        I don’t disagree with your statement. BUT …

        Can’t contracts be changed, or amended?

        Can’t contracts be declared invalid for:
        – illegal clauses?
        – 1 or more parties entered into it without full capacity to do so?
        – 1 or more parties without full and complete knowledge of its terms?

  5. @Justice Holmes

    AHA! I found it!

    In 2001, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health collected data about the health of a nationally representative sample of 14,322 individuals between the ages of 18 and 28. The study also asked subjects to answer questions about romantic or sexual relationships in which they had engaged during the previous five years and whether those relationships had involved violence.

    From this information researchers found that of the 18,761 relationships, 76 percent were non-violent and 24 percent were violent. Of the 24 percent that were violent, half had been reciprocal and half had not — reciprocal meaning there was violence inflicted by both partners. Although more men than women (53 percent versus 49 percent) had experienced nonreciprocal violent relationships, more women than men (52 percent versus 47 percent) had taken part in ones involving reciprocal violence.

    This statistic was undoubtedly the most striking: in committing acts of domestic violence, more women than men (25 percent versus 11 percent) were responsible. In fact, in the 71 percent of nonreciprocal partner violence instances, the instigator was the woman. This flies in the face of the long-held belief that female aggression in a relationship is most often predicated on self-defense.

    http://www.mintpressnews.com/woman-aggressor-unspoken-truth-domestic-violence/196746/

    There is a lot more at the link. I also read one that detailed how women tend to psychologically abuse men and children in the family, and I will search for that also.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  6. Krause is on the right track. A lot of divorces are simply a result of mentally/hormonally unstable women losing their grip on reality. Usually when the women are 35-45 years old. For some reason they just go bonkers, and destroy their whole family. An alternative answer might be to give more child custody to men, and that way the crazy ex-wife does not have any expectation (usually illusory anyway) of a financial windfall.

    Can’t tell you how many of these type divorces I see coming thru Penelope’s door. Maybe to help, they could bring back the “Ducking Stool” (or trebucket, tumbrel, castigatory) for “common scolds”, too. Or “communis rixatrix.” It’s all in Black’s.

    Also, see here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_scold

    There is a reason why there are no matriarchies in developed societies. I hate to be the one to say it.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. The modal point for a woman to serve papers is around age 32. The reasons parties seek to divorce are usually vague (‘not feeling appreciated’) but are generally reducible to the illusion that they can do better. The author of Eat, Pray, Love disposed of her undervalued and age-appropriate lawyer husband (who does considerable pro bono work) and father of her children for a Brazilian chap who needed a green card. He was also bald and shorter than her.

      1. Yes, I have seen plenty of women do it at that age, but my experience is that the really crazy ones cluster up a little older than that. My 35-45 is just an estimate, not a hard and fast number. There are plenty of crazy women in their 20’s, too. But the ones that disturb me most have been married for a while, and have a couple of old kids, maybe teen or pre-teen.

        They only have a few more years until the kids are 18, and in college, or hopefully out of the house, and you would think that sticking it out is a doable thing, for the kids. But the women are usually just plain bonkers, and their complaints are vague and not very serious sounding. And frankly, if your husband doesn’t talk to you, it’s probably because you are a complete psycho-b!tch, and his feet are tender from walking on eggshells around you. I am not saying that there aren’t lousy men out there, but it is just my experience that it is the women who are usually more insane in the membrane.

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

        1. SFGR, you mean like perimenopasual women whose go from nurturing to over achieving with a vengance?

        2. Squeek, re: “They only have a few more years until the kids are 18, and in college, or hopefully out of the house, and you would think that sticking it out is a doable thing, for the kids.”

          You never know what it’s like for some women — sure some may be as you put it “bonkers” but others have put up with contempt and abuse for years — stayed together for the kids, for financial security or whatever but everyone with any self respect has a breaking point.

          I just got off the phone with a friend who is FINALLY (I hope!!) going to leave her husband – 21 years of marriage, 3 kids ranging from 17 -9 ALL of whom have had major issues mentally and experimenting with drugs and alcohol as an escape from witnessing the father’s behavior (adultery, constant demeaning comments, excessive drinking, etc.) She is Catholic and did everything she could to save the relationship. I have listened over the years and never offered any opinion – not my place IMO and I celebrate her coming to this decision. She is young and attractive enough to meet another man should she so choose and actually enjoy a happy, healthy union.

          1. You never know what it’s like for some women —

            Yes, you do, because they’re happy to run their mouth about it. (And nothing that happens is ever their fault).

            1. Actually I DO know this couple very well for over 20 years — we were housemates back in the early 90s. IN addition I know her family and his as well. Her “fault” – if you will — is that she remained with him after he went out on her years ago before they had kids. One thing I’ve learned over the years that you can’t “fix” a whore dog — male or female. Husband’s father was a serial adulter – apples and the tree

              1. Adultery’s grounds. Prof. Turley and others are objecting to the very idea of grounds.

              2. One thing I’ve learned over the years that you can’t “fix” a whore dog —

                You may not be able to, but age can. (It also helps to not consign your husband to the couch if that’s what you’ve been doing).

          2. I am not saying there aren’t bad husbands, or situations where a divorce is probably the better option. I am speaking in generalities, of what I see a lot of in divorce clients. Many of these divorces are completely unnecessary from the wife’s perspective. Penelope and/or me often talk to the male clients, and after talking to us, they see the bright side of things, where they are about to lose a Shrewwife from Hell, not their soulmate. Often, a simple question, “Do you really look forward to coming home at night to a loving wife, or do you feel a pit in your stomach as you get near the house, dreading whatever kind of mood your ex-wife-to-be is in???” puts the whole divorce into a new perspective. We try to concentrate on making the change as good as possible for the kids.

            That doesn’t change the underlying dynamics, and sometimes we do such a good job for the husband, that the ex-wife will come to us on her next divorce, and vice versa. But many of these are simply divorces that don’t need to happen, if the woman would simply get her head on straight.

            Squeeky Fromm
            Girl Reporter

      2. The author of Eat, Pray, Love is Elizabeth Gilbert. She did not want children, but her first husband did and that was part of the reason for the divorce. She has never had children, though her second husband had children from his previous marriage.

    2. Interesting take on an area of law that tries to deal with broken families wherein the wife is often abused and demeaned. Nothing hormonal about it unless you are talking about the testosterone rage that leads some men to believe wives are punching bags to work out their grievances upon.

      1. Justice Holmes – talk to any man who has survived his wife’s menopause. My wife still has hot flashes.

      2. Only a modest minority of divorces (11% I believe) incorporate physical violence.

        Read Erin Pizzey on the dynamics of some violent relationships.

  7. Difficult decision? I came across 1 study which had it that 1/4 of the husbands who were defendants in divorce cases were informed of their marital problems by the process server. See the late Prof. Dan Markel. Others find that perhaps 1/3 of plaintiffs had something resembling grounds. For most, divorce is an expression of consumer preference. The two most recent in my family involved one woman who ran off with an impetuously acquired boyfriend and another who cheated on her husband and engendered a separation. After they reconciled, he discovered she was at it again. Ironically, she filed against him. These women weren’t adolescents. One was 28 and the other 26. The husband in one case is a capable retail supervisor (tires, auto parts, equipment rental) regarded quite affectionately by his stepson (yes, he married her along with her 10 year old) and the other a schoolteacher turned law student who was working and going to school at the time. He’d elected to attend law school under the influence of his father-in-law, in a (I’m wagering vain) attempt to acquire an income stream of a sort to which his bride was accustomed. These women didn’t make any difficult decisions and their husbands had the decision made for them because unilateral divorce on demand is the law.

    Libertarians are two-legged animals.

    1. It’s painful right now, but those guys will meet other women who actually value them (hopefully). Better than being tied to those self indulgent tw%ts. As far as the boy though – he will be hurt from being cut off.

  8. I have expressed my views regarding the contractual foundations of marriage in several columns here over the past several years. I won’t bore anyone with their repetition here. You can read them if you like. https://jonathanturley.org/2015/02/09/myth-and-the-marriage-pledge/ ; https://jonathanturley.org/2013/07/14/same-sex-marriage-and-the-new-dominionist-manifesto-2/ ;https://jonathanturley.org/2012/05/27/marital-dischord/

    I would note the following, however. First, Rep. Krause freely acknowledges that his intent in introducing the legislation is to restore the “sacredness” of marriage, a religious argument consistent with the Protestant dominionism that dominates the work of Liberty Counsel. Second, there is a reason that the equitable remedy of specific performance is not available to enforce contracts for personal services.

  9. JT Heads up……Breaking news 12:40 EST

    Senator Jeff Sessions named Jonathan Turly for naming Congress as trouble makers in live conformation hearing for AG.

  10. I much prefer the carrot over the stick approach.

    Lengthening the divorce process and making it more expensive disproportionally affects the poor and lower middle class, especially women who may not work full time because they take care of children. It would ostensibly force such couples to remain in a marriage that they cannot stand.

    I knew of a woman who was very unhappy in her relationship, but she had a young child. She felt she did not have the finances to strike off on her own and go through a separation, and pay for day care. So she stayed as the arguing escalated until one night he threw her and her head went through the wall, right in front of their son. So their son got to witness escalating arguments until his mother was injured right before his eyes. And then they really had problems. He got arrested, and he’d been the sole breadwinner, and then of course their chances for a cordial co-parenting relationship were significantly damaged. It was very sad. Making relationship decisions based on finances can have heartbreaking consequences.

    I agree with Darren that the reasons for divorce should be the couples’ own. I am saddened by the rise in divorce. But part of that can be attributed to a culture that won’t dig in to fix something, a lack of preparation and getting to really know your proposed spouse, escalating rates of cheating, and a frivolous approach to marriage. If you don’t look at it like a lifetime commitment, then eloping to Vegas with a guy you met 2 weeks ago may sound like a great idea. But forcing people to stay together when they don’t want to is not the government’s purview. Sure they can encourage PSAs, publish research on the detrimental effect of broken families on children, and encourage premarital counseling. But the right to be, or not be, with someone is a fundamental right.

    Encouraging people to take a marriage commitment more seriously is a cultural, not a government, issue.

    1. I agree with Darren that the reasons for divorce should be the couples’ own. I

      They are seldom the couple’s own. They are typically the decision of one party to cut out on the other. That’s the world generated by no-fault divorce.

  11. Arizona makes it so easy, the clerk’s office will help you file out the forms. They also have the forms.

  12. he’s entitled to his views, but he is NOT entitled to try and force them on everyone else under rules of law. people like him fuel the liberal right’s disdain of Christianity.

    1. If you have a law, someone’s views are being forced on someone else. It’s just that the injured party here (people abandoned and discarded in a regime where the divorce culture is the norm) are people you don’t give a damn about.

  13. There are important legal matters pertaining to divorce such as custody, property and taxation issues. That is the government interest in divorce not judging the quality of a marriage or reasons for divorce.

    Just leave people alone, why is that so difficult?

    1. Just keep your promises. Is that so difficult?

      You seem to think married couples are isolates. They are not. Marriages form an ecosystem.

  14. Frist of all, how do you know Matt Krause is a “deeply relgious man”. He may just be a control freek who feels that he should have the power to control other people’s lives. I’m sick of these faux Christians using their relgion to excuse their over reach.

    Tightening up divorce laws is almost always about condemning women to hellish marriages. It does nothing to stop domestic abuse or other sources of marital problems. I say: Matt if you don’t approve of divorce don’t have one…unless of course your wife wakes up and realizes what big mistake she has made. ( do you have a wife? If so, she has my sympathy!)

    1. “He may just be a control freak who feels that he should have the power to control other people’s lives.”

      Unfortunately that’s largely the definition of being “deeply religious.”

      1. Progressives use the latest scientific research to force their views, which they deem superior, on others through government. That is how we got eugenics, Prohibition, genetic racism theories, forced lobotomies, the deeply left slant of public education, Obamacare’s one single standard of what a health insurance policy must cover, and the forced abandonment of Native American languages in the early days of reservations. They decide what is the best for you, and then they impose it upon you, and punish you if you don’t comply. That is why they went from allowing gay marriage (which is a freedom) to searching out and persecuting people in little tiny rural towns if they wouldn’t hypothetically want to participate in a religious ceremony they do not agree with (which is limiting freedom).

        On the flip side, the religious did that in the early Puritan settlements, imposed their religious views as a law upon others. Occasionally, a religious person gets into office and tries to impose faith based legislation upon others. Again, this is wrong. Nowadays, there is not much scope. Such efforts do not sweep the nation as progressive legislation does.

        Neither is excusable. Individual freedom and rights suffer under both. Even though one side is more active at it currently, it is equally wrong.

        1. Karen, I have news for you. The indissolubility of marriage originates not with the Puritans but with the pre-Constantinian Church.

          1. I did not think the hurdles to dissolving marriage originated with the Puritans. I had meandered to another topic about when religious people try to impose their views upon others through force of government. I used the Puritans as an example. Progressives are the secular version.

            But I agree that the imposition of religious views upon others goes back to ancient pagan times when Grog would get sacrificed to the sun god for touching the taboo cave painting.

            1. Karen, no regime in matrimonial law is free of impositions. Someone’s view of the binding nature of the marriage contract carries the day.

    2. “I’m sick of these faux Christians using their relgion to excuse their over reach.”

      Do you get equally ill at ALL overreach or just that done by the “deeply religious”?

    3. Tightening up divorce laws is almost always about condemning women to hellish marriages.

      Loosening up divorce laws is always about making life easier for the terminally self-centered.

      1. That’s hilarious. You have obviously never met a woman whose marriage was little more than a prison. Do little family law and a few domestic violence cases. I think that experience will change your mind.

        1. I’m pointing out via sarcasm that you said something stupid, vicious, and ignorant of the literature on the sociology of the family. You did that because you had a shabby lapse or because stupid and vicious are your default states. Now, what do you think your clueless response suggests about you???

          Violence is seldom a factor in divorce cases, and there’s no point in designing matrimonial law around the notion that that’s why people get divorced. People get divorced for reasons of consumer preference. An odd minority of plaintiffs are contending with alcoholics or serial adulterers and a few with violent people.

          1. DesperatelySeekingSusan – back in the 60s the girl I was dating perjured herself in court by saying she had seen her sister’s husband hit her, it an effort to get her sister a divorce. It, or adultery, was one of the two causes for divorce.

            1. There were indubitably more causes listed in state statutes than that. That you have standards will induce some people to attempt to contravene them in order to get what they want.

  15. Any imposition of individual beliefs on others in areas like this is totally unacceptable. Keeping the government, be it Federal, State or Local, out of our personal lives should be the watchword and I find it hard to imagine how this logic seems to be unacceptable to some.

    1. Uh huh. What sort of regime in divorce law fails to ‘impose’ an ethic on parties to a marriage?

  16. “No Fault” is a tough pill to swallow when your wife turns adulterer while you are deployed overseas (proof care of the “Ship’s Wive’s Association” video) and she visits every base legal “for advice” before you return from deployment, thus removing your ability to get free legal representation due to a “conflict of interest. You end up without physical custody of your children due to your service obligation and she gets a percentage of your retirement for life.

    No Fault; nope, No Justice.

    1. Oh, Olly, that’s terrible. And it sounds like a racket. Can’t the legal department wise up to that maneuver?

  17. What if the couple at the time of their marriage each voluntarily opted into stricter rules that did not allow for no-fault divorce regarding their own marriage? Wouldn’t that be all right and properly enforceable, if one of the parties to the marriage later on tried to renege?

        1. Because legal (as opposed to religious) marriage is basically a legally defined status. Just as the law determines when someone reaches the age of majority, and that cannot be changed by private agreements between parties, the law determines when someone is a legally married person. You might be able to enter into a contract, such as a property division agreement, to take effect if there is a no-fault divorce (though that could still be subject to public policy regarding the support of children and spouses) Religious marriages are more akin to contractual arrangements, with the determination of status being a matter of private agreement. However, you can often approximate many of the effects of legal marriage through contractual agreements. In preparing such agreements, you have beware of the specific case law in your jurisdiction. Some case law interprets such agreements which contemplate a sexual relationship as unlawful (as effectively being a contract for prostitution) and so unenforceable.

    1. You don’t have to be a Neanderthal, or a Christian, to think that certain obligations shouldn’t be easily discarded. As one of the other commenters has observed, when a marriage produces children other individuals are involved.

    2. If keeping to your vows is a signature of Neanderthals, just what is wrong with Neanderthals?

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