Many divorces may be preventable. Why does this matter? Because even a modest reduction in divorce could annually benefit more than 400,000 children while saving U.S. taxpayers at least $112 billion.
This year, the Institute for American Values proposed a modest reform that U.S. state legislatures can enact: the Second Chances Act, which combines a minimum, one-year waiting period for divorce with education about the option of reconciliation. About 40 percent of couples already deeply into the divorce process report that one or both spouses are interested in the possibility of reconciliation.
Our proposal, the Second Chances Act, which we plan to roll out to a few states and then pursue nationally, would also require parents of minor children considering divorce to take a short, pre-filing parenting education course. Forty-six states already require some form of parenting classes for divorcing couples with minor children, although most couples take the classes well into the divorce process. Tragically, educators who teach these classes report that some parents have said, "I wish I had known these things when we first broke up."
We are under no illusion that the Second Chances Act is a panacea for lowering divorce rates. And we are certainly not advocating keeping destructive marriages together. (Under our proposal, the waiting period can be waived if abuse is present.) But we now know that a significant number of divorces may be preventable. This modest reform could spare many couples and children the pain of an unnecessary divorce.
Your gift of $25, $50, $100, $250 (or more if your means permit) is vitally important in helping us strengthen marriage. Your support will help us:
Reduce unnecessary divorce in 2012;
Offer modest yet innovative policy reform ideas on marriage and family issues;
Persuade opinion leaders;
Increase the proportion of U.S. children who grow up in stable marriage with their own mother and their own father.
Please consider making a year-end gift to the Institute today. If you would like to discuss making a year-end tax-free distribution from your IRA account, please contact us at 212-246-3942.
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