Denmark launches new restrictions on parental divorce

The Nyhavn canal, part of the Copenhagen, Denmark, Harbor and home to many bars and restaurants, is seen in this August 11, 2008 file photo.
The Nyhavn canal, part of the Copenhagen, Denmark, Harbor and home to many bars and restaurants, is seen in this August 11, 2008 file photo. | (Photo: Reuters/Teis Hald Jensen/Files)

Parents seeking a divorce in Denmark are now required to take a mandatory course and wait three months before they can separate. 

The Danish Parliament agreed in March to implement a mandatory "reflection period" of three months and require parents who have children 18 years old and younger to take an online course before a divorce can be finalized.

The course is called ‘Co-operation After Divorce’ and enables parents to consider the ramifications of a relationship split, particularly through the eyes of their children, and explains how to communicate after divorce, Evangelical Focus reported earlier this week.

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"The digital course answers some of the most fundamental questions that you are left with during a divorce," Mai Mercado, Denmark's Ministry of Children and Social Security, told the Paris-based news agency Agence France-Presse.

Approximately 70% of children live together with both of their parents, compared to 85% in 1980, according to Statistics Denmark. Until the adoption of this new policy, Danes have been able to obtain what is called a "mutually consensual" divorce rather speedily, by simply filling out an online form and requiring no judge nor waiting period.

Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Lake Charles, Louisiana-based Ruth Institute, said in a Friday email to The Christian Post that while she is unfamiliar with Danish law, she finds it appalling that people can currently obtain a divorce with such ease.

"It seems that the Danes are beginning to take seriously the long-term negative impact of divorce, especially on children," Morse said. "The number of divorces in the past year was 46% of the number of marriages recorded: the Danes have plenty of sad experience with the impact of divorce."

Morse, whose most recent book, The Sexual State, argues that one of the main prongs of the sexual revolution is divorce ideology, which is predicated on the idea that children are resilient and that adults should be able to do whatever they want, no matter how painful the family breakdown proves to be for the kids. Meanwhile, the voices of children of divorce, such as the dozens featured in Primal Loss: The Now Adult Children of Divorce Speak, are seldom heard.

The divorce course in Denmark "has been created by researchers at the University of Copenhagen," Evangelical Focus reported. And "it has 17 modules offering concrete solutions to potential conflict areas, such as how to handle birthday parties, or how to talk to your children when they are upset." 

Between 2015 and 2018, researchers tested the modules on 2,500 volunteers, the results of which were "staggering," according to University of Copenhagen psychologist Martin Hald, who is one of the creators of the course.

“In 12 of 14 cases we could see that the program had a moderate to strong positive effect on mental and physical health, improving levels of stress, depression, anxiety, physical or mental suffering, and leading to fewer work absences," Hald said.

Should parents seeking divorce not finish the course within the allotted three-month waiting period, the couple will remain married.

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