Second Chances: A Proposal to Reduce Unnecessary Divorce
There are two popular misconceptions about divorce: that it happens only after a long process of misery and conflict, and that once they file for divorce, couples don’t entertain the idea of reconciling. But the majority of divorced couples report average happiness and low levels of conflict in the years prior to their divorce, and new research shows that in at least 10 percent of divorcing couples, both spouses are open to efforts to reconcile–and in another 30 percent, at least one spouse has interest in reconciliation. This research also suggests that the high divorce rate in the U.S. is not only costly to taxpayers and harmful to children, but that a substantial number of today’s divorces may be preventable.
On October 21, The Brookings Institution and the Heritage Foundation hosted an event to release a new report from the Institute for American Values, “Second Chances: A Proposal to Reduce Unnecessary Divorce.” Co-authors Professor William Doherty and Justice Leah Ward Sears presented the report’s findings in a discussion moderated by Brookings Senior Fellow William Galston. Robert Rector from the Heritage Foundation and Theodora Ooms from the National Healthy Marriage Resource Center offered their analysis of the report and its proposals.
After the program, panelists took audience questions.