In the last 40 years in America, over 40 million children have been the victims of divorce. Every state in the United States has adopted what have become known as no-fault divorce laws that many believe have been the cause of more divorces than necessary.
A group has formed called the Coalition for Divorce Reform that is a group of marriage educators, domestic violence experts, scholars and concerned citizens working to reduce unnecessary divorce and promote healthy marriages. Chaired by former Health and Human Services executive Chris Gersten and with author and legal expert Beverly Willett as the advisory committee chair, the Coalition is promoting what they call the Parental Divorce Reduction Act, requiring steps prior to divorce including classes, intervention and "cooling off" periods. Exceptions are made in the case of abuse, abandonment, incarceration and substance abuse circumstances.
In The Huffington Post last week, Chris Gersten said, "The breakdown of the traditional family is the social equivalent of the national debt as a crisis in America ... We need to overcome cultural influences that encourage divorce by making it so easy."
While I know many readers will oppose additional barriers to divorce, I think it has become too easy from a legal and process standpoint to dissolve marriages where children are involved. Early intervention and building marriage and relationships skills are critical to family success. It is when the little things become the big things that divorce sometimes becomes the only option. But if you can't act early enough, people should stop and think carefully and explore all other options fully before taking the final steps. Almost every divorced dad I know wishes he had done more to save his marriage rather than enduring the pain of divorce.
More on strengthening marriage:
- Tips for stronger marriages
- Rebuilding a family after an affair
- Renewing marriage and fatherhood
- When do I need a family counselor?