A Maryland-based marriage and counseling agency has reached headlines recently with what it calls its New Strategy in the war against divorce an institution, it says, that is destroying the lives of millions.
"There are 30 million adult children of divorce who were shattered by their parents divorce, and another 24 million who suffered a divorce they did not want, said the group, which calls itself Marriage Savers, in a statement.
According to the group, rising divorce rates could be drastically reduced by up to 50 percent across the nation, if the proper reforms were introduced and the current system of No Fault Divorce eliminated.
Under the current system of No Fault Divorce, a partner may at any time divorce their spouse, simply by citing irreconcilable differences.
Most view divorce as a personal issue, but in a larger sense No Fault Divorce, a law first signed in California in 1969 by then Gov. Ronald Reagan, has been the biggest killer of marriage in America. It swept the nation in the 1970s, pushing divorces up from 708,000 in 1970 to 1,036,000 five years later, the group said.
"The major reason why America has the world's highest divorce rate is that one spouse can unilaterally divorce another. Research reports that in four out of five cases, one spouse did not want the divorce, but had no choice. No-Fault Divorce should be called Unilateral Divorce, the group added.
Eliminating the system of No Fault Divorce, which is opposed by 80 percent of all spouses, the group argues, could reduce divorce rates by as much as 30 percent.
In cases involving children, and where no allegation is made of abuse, adultery, etc. states could require that any divorce be agreed to by both husband and wife. What was entered into by two people willingly would not be terminated unless both agree, the group said.
An additional 20 percent reduction in divorce rates could be achieved if Joint Custody or Shared Parenting became the norm and replaced Sole Custody practices.
Why? If a parent knows they will have to interact with the other child's parents while the child is growing up, there is less incentive to divorce, says David L. Levy, CEO of Children's Rights Council, according to the group.
According to the group, since 1970, there have been an entire generation of children shattered by divorce who are three times more likely to be expelled from school or become pregnant as those with married parents, five times as apt to live in poverty or to commit suicide and 12 times more likely to be jailed.
A drastic reform to the system of divorce and a recommitment to marriages, however, could save the lives of as many as 500,000 children a year, the group claims.
Since 1986, Marriage Savers has worked closely with clergy and legislators throughout the nation to help promote what it calls its Community Marriage Policies," which, according to the group, have helped reduce divorce rates by as much as 17.5 percent in over 200 cities.