Can we enact legislation to make it more difficult to get a divorce?


Individuals marry for a variety of reasons, and the basic reasons decide the longevity of the union. For example, if a woman married to avoid financial problems, she may want to divorce until she has a steady career. The alarming divorce rates in the United States can be due to lax rules that encourage everyone to leave a marriage, even arbitrarily. Thus, tougher rules can, on the one hand, make divorce more difficult, but this might not be the only option. Making divorce more difficult may result in domestic abuse and increased suicide rates among women in some abusive marriages. In examining the pros of enacting laws and the cons also, it will be evident that laws may or may not reduce the divorce rate depending on the prevailing circumstance.

Economic Impact of Divorce

Making it hard to divorce will work against the economy of the nation and the economic situation of married couples. Married women's economic returns change significantly following a divorce since the woman will have to take care of her financial needs. However, when the same woman remains married but unhappy, she will depend on the husband to fend for her, making it difficult to invest or find employment. In anticipation of a divorce, women find ways of working and also increase the labor output. In fact, divorced women who are happy and enjoy the liberty of career choices without the hindrances of their husbands are more productive and enjoy a quality life. Such quality of life will be unattainable if the laws do not allow divorce. Additionally, remaining in a marriage because the law requires a woman or a man to do so affects productivity significantly. Britt and Roy (241) note that there is a direct correlation between marital happiness and quality of labor particularly when both genders take up their roles accordingly. A home is a place where a person feels the warmth thereof, can rejuvenate and rest such that one can remain focused on their labor productivity. As such, it cannot be attained by the legal regulations but the couple while working together for their marital happiness. Therefore, if the joy is not forthcoming, no law should tie persons to remain in a marriage they don't approve only to suffer emotionally, physically and financially. A better alternative would be to seek solutions that will address the underlying issues.

Impact on Domestic Violence and Suicidal Rates

Apart from decreased labor productivity in unhappy marriages, laws making it hard to divorce will result in increased domestic violence and increased suicidal rates among women. For instance, when the husband realizes that it is hard for a divorce to forthcome, he may continue in his unruly behavior that would be hurting the wife since he knows she won't leave the marriage without his consent. However, if divorce is easy, a man may change his behavior to safeguard his marriage and not bear the financial implication of separation like property division. In the worst case scenario, the woman who mostly suffers domestic violence since the society remains patriarchal. Women are, likely to feel hard pressed and with no place to run to, leading to despondency. In this state of desperation, women may find the only ultimate solution is committing suicide to end their suffering. Others who may not have the courage of taking away their lives are forced to endure abusive marriages even endangering their emotional, physical and reproductive well-being. Such perseverance in a dysfunctional marriage or death does more good than harm since human life is prized and incomparable to nothing. Yip et al. (87) reiterate this idea by arguing that the suicidal rates are lower in nations that laws that make divorce easy. However, the suicidal rate is quite high in cultures that value marriage even higher than life such that it is a taboo to quit a marriage on whatever grounds. Without laws that make divorce hard, when one is unhappy in a marriage, they may opt out and start their lives afresh instead of such suffering. In this regard, laws making it harder to divorce will work against women more and in a sense favor men thus create more problems instead of offering solutions.

Addressing Underlying Causes

The laws to make divorce hard seems appropriate, but they will not address the underlying causes that are making divorce a high sort solution. The underlying causes of divorce should be addressed such that people will not even need laws to prevent divorce since they will be empowered. For instance, one of the primary causes of divorce is unresolved issues particularly when the couple is unable to address the problems causing a division. In that situation, laws making it difficult will not enable the people to deal with their problems, but they will suppress and live together unhappily. However, if the society appreciates social skills, problem-solving skills, and amicable conflict resolution skills, these will be inculcated in the syllabus from low learning levels to institutions of higher learning. Such skills and abilities will enable couples to build resilience, agree to disagree and live together happily despite the difficulties that may be present. Additionally, the concept of marriage should be something that parents teach, and model to their children throughout such that people know and understand the demands of marriage. Such preparedness will reduce divorce rates since every couple will work at ensuring a productive marriage. The various social institutions should also play their part in preparing young people for marriage and the uncertainties that marriage may unveil. Amazingly, increased religious service attendance is seen to lower suicide rates and divorce rates especially among women (VanderWeele 845). With such institutions, even there will be no need for laws since the marriages will be functioning accordingly.

Protecting Children's Interests

Nonetheless, since not all marriages that end in divorce are abusive or women are unable to work productively, laws become essential in such situations to maintain marital commitments and safeguard the interests of each party in the marriage institution. One key player in marriages is the child that at times in neglected and not considered in the event of a divorce. Sometimes, the impact of divorce on children especially teenagers is lifelong and has dire consequences. Children may not be in a position to understand what necessitated divorce and may take a long time adjusting to that reality and living in single parenting or with a step-parent. The emotional baggage will affect the academic well-being of these children resulting in stress and depression as Anthony, DiPierna, and Amato (250) suggest. Additionally, when adolescents face such traumatizing events in their lives, it increases the probability of aggressive behavior and involvement in criminal activities as a way of seeking consolation. Strict laws that make divorce can protect children from facing such unnecessary difficulties and unprecedented hardships because of choices they had no control over. In the long run, the children may suffer depression and other psychiatric disorders. It is in the interest of such children that laws can offer assistance.

Building Stronger Family Units

With strict laws, reduced divorce rates, the government will not be required to have children's custody which is expensive and inadequate in providing a home experience for the children (Maccoby, Depner, and Mnookin 93). Also, with no way out of a problematic marriage, couples will be forced to build resilience and take responsibility. In this regard, people will seek any possible help to make their marriage work and create a quality marriage that the family can thrive. That involves finding marital counseling, accepting compromise and having robust communication to understand one another. Therefore laws could help people to be strong, versatile and build the problem-solving skills. Eventually, the family unit will be stronger, and the children will enjoy the quality life that will translate into academic excellence and emotional well-being.


In conclusion, enacting laws that make divorce hard will be detrimental in the long run since it will increase suicidal tendencies among women, deny people an opportunity to live happily and have quality marriages and reduce labor productivity. Instead of laws that make divorce hard, there should be other measures that build the capacity of individuals to be able to address the uncertainties and changes that marital life may present. In fact, the laws cannot build strength and only act as a deterrent that makes strict laws an unsustainable approach to addressing the high divorce rates prevalent. Finally, an ideal solution is the preparation of young people for marriage from an early age in schools and homes making them resilient individuals who can withstand difficulties and find solutions.

Works Cited

  • Anthony, Christopher J., James Clyde DiPerna, and Paul R. Amato. "Divorce approaches to learning, and children's academic achievement: A longitudinal analysis of mediated and moderated effects." Journal of school psychology 52.3 (2014): 249-261.

  • Britt, Sonya L., and R. Roudi Nazarinia Roy. "Relationship quality among young couples from an economic and gender perspective." Journal of Family and Economic Issues 35.2 (2014): 241-250.

  • Maccoby, Eleanor E., Charlene E. Depner, and Robert H. Mnookin. "Custody of children following divorce." EM Hetherington & JD Arasteh, Impact of Divorce, Single Parenting, and Stepparenting on Children (2014): 91-112.

  • VanderWeele, Tyler J., et al. "Association between religious service attendance and lower suicide rates among US women." JAMA psychiatry 73.8 (2016): 845-851.

  • Yip, Paul SF, et al. "The roles of culture and gender in the relationship between divorce and suicide risk: a meta-analysis." Social Science & Medicine 128 (2015): 87-94.

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