3 min

“The breakdown of the traditional family is the social equivalent of the national debt as a crisis in America.”

~ Chris Gersten, Chairman
Coalition for Divorce Reform


Over the past 40 years, nearly 40 million children have experienced the divorce of their parents. A recent landmark study found that on average, children of divorce die five years earlier than peers whose parents stayed together.

A non-partisan group of marriage educators, domestic violence experts, scholars and concerned citizens have come together to urge states to put the brakes on no-fault divorce practices they claim encourage hundreds of thousands of couples each year to split-up instead of make-up.

Chris Gersten, chairman of the Coalition for Divorce Reform, said the group will work to increase awareness of the negative impact of divorce, the price paid by America’s families, children and culture, and the high cost to taxpayers. Mr. Gersten is a former senior official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In an interview with The Huffington Post this week, Mr. Gersten said, “The breakdown of the traditional family is the social equivalent of the national debt as a crisis in America … We need to overcome cultural influences that encourage divorce by making it so easy.”

He said coalition members are hoping increased awareness will lead state lawmakers to mandate a waiting period for couples with minor children who are facing the end of their marriage and require participation in a brief divorce reduction class.

Both personally and professionally, I’m well aware of the impact divorce has on families and neighborhoods. In more than 15 years of marriage education work with thousands of couples, including many on the verge of separation or divorce, I’ve found that most divorces are preventable. Time and again, I’ve seen that with good will, the far majority of couples contemplating divorce can learn skills to create relationships that are deeply satisfying and fulfilling to both partners.

Those experiences led me to quickly accept Mr. Gersten’s invitation to join the Coalition.

The group launched a national conversation about divorce through their website this week. Articles from coalition members offer various perspectives on the impact and causes of marital and family breakdown with several posts connecting divorce reform efforts with the findings of the recent Longevity Project study.

To learn more, visit divorcereform.info.

Seth Eisenberg is President/CEO of PAIRS Foundation, an industry leader in relationship and marriage education, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Coalition for Divorce Reform.