Thursday, May 27, 2010

Divorce Counseling at Minnesota Gov't Expense

The state of Minnesota will soon begin offering, at state expense, divorce reconciliation services to couples considering dissolving their marriages.

-- From "Minnesota will pick up tab to counsel divorcing couples" By Cheryl Wetzstein, Washington Times 5/25/10

The Minnesota Couples on the Brink project was signed last week as part of an omnibus spending bill by Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is often mentioned in speculation about Republican presidential tickets.

The new project will give couples an "offramp" if they find themselves on the road to divorce, by offering on a voluntary basis short-term coaching to help the husband and wife decide whether they really want to split. If a couple decides to rebuild the marriage, the project will help craft a reconciliation plan.

Pro-family advocates contend that the current court system assumes its role is to facilitate divorce, not to reconcile couples.

William J. Doherty, a family studies professor at the University of Minnesota, surveyed about 2,500 couples who had attended a mandatory divorce education class in Hennepin County during 2008 and 2009.

In about 30 percent of cases, one spouse said they wanted the divorce while the other did not, and in about 10 percent, "both partners were open to trying again" to save their marriage, Mr. Dille [Republican legislator] said.

That 10 percent is a substantial number — about 1,500 couples a year statewide, Mr. Dille said. Divorce may certainly be the best choice for some couples, he added, but for others — if they knew more about divorce and its aftermath, "they might want to find an alternate path."

There was dissent from some Minnesota divorce lawyers, however.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.