An analysis of divorce and how it can affect children

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An analysis of divorce and how it can affect children

Want to learn more about this and related topics? Sign up for our twice-monthly email newsletter. My name is Gordon Berlin. I am the executive vice president of MDRC, a unique nonpartisan social policy research and demonstration organization dedicated to learning what works to improve the well-being of disadvantaged families.

We strive to achieve this mission by conducting real world field tests of new policy and program ideas using the most rigorous methods possible to assess their effectiveness.

I am honored to be invited to address your committee about what we know and do not know about the effects of marriage and divorce on families and children and about what policies and programs might work to promote and strengthen healthy marriages, especially among the poor.

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My goal is to briefly summarize the evidence in three areas: The central focus of my remarks will be to explicate the role that marital education, family counseling, and related services might play in promoting and strengthening healthy marriages and to discuss what we know about the potential of strategies that seek to ameliorate the key stressors for example, job loss, lack of income, domestic violence, and childbearing that make it difficult to form marriages in the first place or act as a catalyst that eventually breaks up existing marriages.

To summarize my conclusions: First, children who grow up in an intact, two-parent family with both biological parents present do better on a wide range of outcomes than children who grow up in a single-parent family.

Single parenthood is not the only, nor even the most important, cause of the higher rates of school dropout, teenage pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, or other negative outcomes we see; but it does contribute independently to these problems.

Neither does single parenthood guarantee that children will not succeed; many, if not most, children who grow up in a single-parent household do succeed. Third, we do not know whether these same marital education services would be effective in reducing marital stress and eventual divorce among low-income populations or in promoting marriage among the unmarried.

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Low-income populations confront a wide range of stressors that middle-class families do not. The evidence is limited, and mixed, on whether strategies designed to overcome these stressors, for example, by providing job search assistance or by supplementing low earnings, rather than relying solely on teaching marital communication and problem-solving skills would also increase the likelihood that low-income couples would marry or that married couples would stay together.

Fourth, to find out whether and what types of policies and programs might successfully strengthen marriage as an institution among low-income populations as well as among a wide variety of ethnically and culturally diverse populations, our national focus should be on the design, implementation, and rigorous evaluation of these initiatives.

The rationale is reasonably straightforward: About a third of all children born in the United States each year are born out of wedlock. Similarly, about half of all first marriages end in divorce, and when children are involved, many of the resulting single-parent households are poor.

An analysis of divorce and how it can affect children

For example, less than 10 percent of married couples with children are poor as compared with about 35 to 40 percent of single-mother families.

Moreover, research shows that even after one controls for a range of family background differences, children who grow up living in an intact household with both biological parents present seem to do better, on average, on a wide range of social indicators than do children who grow up in a single-parent household McLanahan and Sandefur, For example, they are less likely to drop out of school, become a teen parent, be arrested, and be unemployed.

Put another way, equalizing income and opportunity do improve the life outcomes of children growing up in single-parent households, but children raised in two-parent families still have an advantage.

If the failure of parents to marry and persistently high rates of divorce are behind the high percentage of children who grow up in a single-parent family, can and should policy attempt to reverse these trends? Since Daniel Patrick Moynihan first lamented what he identified as the decline of the black family in his report, The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, marriage has been a controversial subject for social policy and scholarship.

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The initial reaction to Moynihan was harsh; scholars argued vehemently that family structure and, thus, father absence was not a determinant of child well-being. But then in the s, psychologists Wallerstein and Kelly, ; Hetherington, began producing evidence that divorce among middle-class families was harmful to children.

Renewed interest among sociologists and demographers Furstenberg and Cherlin, in the link between poverty and single parenthood soon emerged, and as noted above, that work increasingly began building toward the conclusion that family structure did matter McLanahan and Sandefur, There are some ancient Christian doctrines that only the Catholic Church has retained.

One such doctrine is her teaching on contraception, which was the unanimous teaching of the Church Fathers, and which all Christians shared for nineteen centuries until the Lambeth Conference of At that conference the Anglican Church decided to permit the use of contraceptives, and were soon followed by.

Families move often and for various reasons. In fact, the average American can expect to move an estimated times during his or her lifetime.

Moving can be a sign of opportunity, such as a new job or long-term wealth accumulation. This article summarizes many of the common psychological and emotional effects divorce has on men, women and children.

The divorce rate in the United States is the highest in the world. Divorce is painful, complicated and often messy. And things can get even more complicated when there's a mortgage involved. Divorce is hardly an exception anymore.

In fact, with the rate of marriage steadily dipping over the past decade, and the divorce rate holding steady, you are likely to know more previously married couples than those who are legally bound. Accompanying this trend are multiple studies analyzing the effects that divorce has on children.

Divorce, also known as dissolution of marriage, is the process of terminating a marriage or marital union. It usually entails the canceling or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law of the particular country or state.

Divorce laws vary considerably around the world, but in most.

The Narrow Path | Divorce & Remarriage