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The Big Answer

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The media has on occasion interpreted statistical blips into future predictions. For instance, the rumor that commitment is making a comeback is based on a small fluctuation in the divorce rate. However, the current marriage patterns reveal that two thirds of recent marriages will eventually end in divorce or separation. (Source: Russell, Cheryl, "The Elephant Test," American Demographics, July 1989, p. 2)

And children are affected by divorce more and more every year. In many school districts in the U.S. "Learning to Deal with Children From Broken Homes" is one of the most popular in-service programs. (Source: Dudley, William, and Szumski, Bonnie, eds., America's Future, Opposing Viewpoints, p. 229)

In 2009, the number of marriages was 2,096,000, the marriage rate was 6.8 per 1,000 total population, and the divorce rate was 3.6 per 1,000 population.

Married adults now divorce two-and-a-half times as often as adults did 20 years ago and four times as often as they did 50 years ago
Married adults now divorce two-and-a-half times as often as adults did 20 years ago and four times as often as they did 50 years ago

Married adults now divorce two-and-a-half times as often as adults did 20 years ago and four times as often as they did 50 years ago... between 40% and 60% of new marriages will eventually end in divorce. The probability within... the first five years is 20%, and the probability of its ending within the first 10 years is 33%. (Source: Brian K. Williams, Stacy C. Sawyer, Carl M. Wahlstrom, Marriages, Families & Intimate Relationships, 2008)


In recent years, a few high-profile court cases have involved children "divorcing" their parents, or being legally declared emancipated minors. Perhaps the best known are those of actor Macaulay Culkin and Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu. However, these are not properly "divorce" cases, and different laws apply.

Though divorce laws vary between jurisdiction, there are two basic approaches to divorce: fault based and no-fault based. However, even in some jurisdictions that do not require a party to claim fault of their partner, a court may still take into account the behavior of the parties when dividing property, debts, evaluating custody, and support. Laws vary as to the waiting period before a divorce is effective. Also, residency requirements vary.

Under a no-fault divorce system the dissolution of a marriage does not require an allegation or proof of fault of either party. Since August 2010, all fifty states of the United States have adopted no-fault divorce laws, with grounds for divorce including incompatibility, irreconcilable differences, and irremediable breakdown of the marriage. At-fault divorces are different. Fault divorces used to be the only way to break a marriage, and people who had differences, but did not qualify as "at fault", only had the option to separate (and were prevented from legally remarrying). In August 2010 "no-fault" divorce became law in the state of New York, making it the final US State to do so. However there are ways (defenses) to prevent a fault divorce: Collusion, Condonation, Connivance, Provocation, Recrimination. A defense is expensive, and not usually practical as eventually most divorces are granted. Comparative rectitude is a doctrine used to determine which spouse is more at fault when both spouses are guilty of breaches. (Source:

One intriguing question is whether being a child of unhappy parents who divorce is better or worse than being a child of unhappy parents who do not divorce. We tend to choose the latter as worse.

Screaming fights today, divorce tomorrow
Screaming fights today, divorce tomorrow

The chance of divorce in an MC is very small, and the chance of the divorce hurting the overall MC environment is nearly nil. MCs are by definition places where people practice sensitive active listening between adults and adults as well as between adults and kids. Problem-solving meetings also occur when needed. Problems in marriages—and relationships in general—would be noticed by family members and other MC members as well. P.E.T. methods would deal with such matters as needed, and resentments and frustrations wouldn't exist long enough to fester, the way they do in dysfunctional relationships in normal marriages. In other words, MCs' very structure and function are set up to empower relationship success, unlike the random, unreliable relationship practices in normal nuclear, single-parent, mixed, extended, and step-families.

divorce rate in the US 1935-2010

kids affected by divorce in US 1960-2007