Los Angeles, CA–Here”s a shocker. Divorce harms kids. The latest evidence is reported here (The Australian, 12/8/08). It reports on an international study detailed in the Journal Comparative Sociology. The study looked at educational outcomes for over 30,000 Australians and found that children lose up to a year of school incident to divorce. The study concludes,
“Divorce’s impact on children’s education is, we suggest, in a large part a consequence of the disruption, the loss of parental control and the difficulties that a sole parent or a step-parent faces in raising children – all of which reduces children’s prospects for success in school.”
This is just the latest evidence we have to support the notion that our 30 + -year experiment with no-fault divorce has failed. For decades, the concept of no-fault divorce was vigorously promoted by, among others, the National Association of Women Lawyers. The theory was that adults shouldn”t be trapped in a relationship that benefitted neither party. Into the bargain, the no-fault divorce crowd told us that children would be better off too if they weren”t exposed to constantly bickering parents. By 1983, every state but two had adopted no-fault divorce laws and, to no one”s surprise, the divorce rate soared. Throughout the 1970s and early 80s, the divorce rate increased reaching over 40%. But now, thanks mostly to people”s actual experiences as well as the small avalanche of studies like the one reported on by The Australian, divorce rates are declining. No-fault divorce laws should be modified, but more important is public education about the harmful effects of divorce on children. They are many and varied. Children suffer from divorce and when children suffer, society suffers too.