Reconciliation is an Underserved Need in the Divorce Process

In 2011, research was done is showing that in nearly 40% of divorce cases one or both express a desire for reconciliation. In 10% of cases, both spouses are expressing an interest in reconciliation. How does this comport with the overreaching assumption that by the time the couple files for divorce, the marriage is already dead? It clearly doesn’t yet this wrongheaded assumption is pervasive.

For goodness sake – we know marriage is good for people, good for society, and good for kids. The Second Chances Act is an exciting proposal that makes the following recommendations:

a waiting period of one year before the divorce;
high-quality education about the option of reconciliation From the article, “Doherty and Sears suggest that a one-year waiting period, combined with a parenting education class that puts interested couples in touch with reconciliation resources, should have an even bigger impact than waiting periods alone.”

The genesis of the Second Chances Act was Minnesota Judge Bruce Peterson’s observation that at least some of the people he was seeing in his court looked like they needed a “rest stop” on the “divorce superhighway.” “When Judge Peterson looked at his own court system, widely acknowledged as a progressive one,” Sears and Doherty write, “he saw attempts to meet nearly every need of divorcing couples—legal and financial assistance, protection orders, parenting education, and more—except for reconciliation.”

A lower divorce rate would certainly benefit children. And society is concerned with children’s well-being…remember the best interest of the child? This study came out in 2011. Since that time, I personally have not heard many discussions about this Proposal whether in the media or in state legislatures, in legal circles, or even my local Bar Association. I put it out there for reading because people who are considering divorce need to know about it.