This is a blog I wrote for LinkedIn
I just read an article about China now having 10,000 divorces per day (click for the article). That number astounds me. I know China has a lot of people, but gosh, the number of divorces here in the states is high and we wrestle with the insufficient resources we have to handle American divorces (not enough money to now support two homes, therapeutic involvement for the family, financial support for children, legal assistance to the parties, etc.). We have been grappling with how to improve our family court system, whether it’s by having courts dedicated to handling family law matters, or guidelines for child support and alimony, it seems we are always playing catch up. And some may say we should make it harder to divorce. I do not think that will solve things. Rather, people may be forced to remain in bad marriages, and they will spend even more money and energy trying to get out of them, money and energy that should instead be used for their families. Of course, if people decide to stay married, that may help, but like many other social trends, divorce may be something that is best addressed by social awareness. Raising consciousness about how hard divorce can be on children may help. But truly each case is unique and perhaps the explosion in the amount of divorces in China is not due to the laws making it easier to divorce (which of course play a role), but perhaps the explosion is due to the quantity of people that have been waiting to divorce, have been legally unable to divorce, and that see the new laws in China as a way to fulfill their hopes of a new and better life? I am not saying they are right, but don’t all human beings have a right to choose their own fate? We can promote laws that inhibit divorce, but we should be very careful when we pass laws that may confine others to situations that we would not want to be forced to endure, to force people to remain legally connected, if truly they think they and their children would be better of “uncoupling” as the recent flurry of articles surrounding Gwyneth Paltrow’s divorce discuss. Uncoupling a bad relationship to allow people to move on, may be a good or bad thing, but shouldn’t it be there, not our choice?