Is divorce reform really the way to go?

A recent Washington Times article quotes divorce-reform advocates as making the argument that they can be part of the solution to helping their government save money in these times of economic belt tightening. The article goes on to say that encouraging troubled couples to work things out could benefit the national bottom line.

The author points out that easy-to-divorce strategies puts a strain on the judicial system, on social services, etc. After years and years of no-fault divorce, Americans surveyed said that divorce should be made “more difficult” to follow through on. Recent statistics in the U.S. put low-conflict divorce rates at 60%, meaning marriages that could possibly be saved with the proper intervention and programs.

W. Bradford Wilcox wrote in a 2009 paper, citing research by professors Paul Amato and Alan Booth of Pennsylvania State University, that if America “enjoyed the same level of family stability today as it did in 1960,” there would be 70,000 fewer suicides, 600,000 fewer children undergoing therapy, 500,000 fewer acts of teenage delinquency, 750,000 fewer children repeating grades, and 1.2 million fewer school suspensions each year. These are staggering statistics profoundly affecting our children.

What would divorce reform look like? Pre-marital counseling and education have been proposed as a start, but in states where attempts have been made, most couples don’t opt in. Is mandatory counseling or changes to our laws the answer? In America, the rate at which men and women are separating and trading partners is seen nowhere else in the world. Is divorce reform really the answer?

2 comments

  1. Several people have been arguing the divorce law in the UK needs to change for exactly the same reason.

    Personally, I don’t think it would be right to make it harder for a couple to divorce. Happy couples will still remain married whilst those that are unhappy will still chosse to divorce. Making the procedure more complex will not relieve the courts, it will merely reduce people’s disposable income.

  2. Austdivorce says:

    It’s a trade off between the well-being of individuals and the well-being of the economy. Making divorce more difficult can only cause people to feel trapped in unhappy situations, something that people don’t need given the demoralization that a struggling economy already brings.

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