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Groups lobby for divorce reform to cut government costs

As the government struggles to control the nation’s debt, a nonpartisan group is advocating that divorce reform could benefit the country’s financial bottom line, the Washington Times reports.

The Coalition for Divorce Reform argues that encouraging couples looking to divorce to instead work things out could majorly cut costs. According to the news source, the average divorce costs a couple $2,500, and each resulting single-parent family can cost the government between $20,000 and $30,000 per year. For these divorce-related social services, the government shells out $33 billion to $112 billion annually.

The organization disagrees with states’ laws that offer no-fault, “easy-to-divorce” programs. Instead, it hopes that states will pass its legislative model to cut divorce rates by one-third in five years

However, the news source states that many family-law scholars, divorce lawyers and domestic-violence advocates oppose delaying and lengthening the divorce process.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the current divorce rate in the U.S. is 3.4 per 1,000 total population, while the marriage rate is 6.8 per 1,000.

Divorces up in New York since no-fault law

The number of divorce filings increased by 12 percent in New York since a no-fault separation system was adopted, according to the New York Post.

Last October, the state implemented a no-fault divorce system, meaning couples no longer had to identify a reason for their splits. Previously, spouses had to prove in court that there were valid reasons for dissolving the marriage, but this information was often an embarrassing glimpse into their personal lives.

From October 2010 until May 2011, the state saw 37,015 divorces filed, up from 33,160 during the same period a year earlier.

A divorce lawyer likened the new divorce process to a common nuisance – going to the dentist.

“It’s still going to the dentist,” he told the publication. “But now you go to a painless dentist. There’s a certain percentage of people who do it now that wouldn’t have before.”

Divorces are not just more convenient in New York. They are also less expensive, as lawyers spend less time mulling over the details of a break-up to determine if a divorce is valid, reports the news provider.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there are more than 2 million marriages in the U.S. each year, and the divorce rate is 3.4 per 1,000 total population.