Study measures the non-financial costs of divorce

It’s no secret that divorce is an experience that almost no one wants to through. Even when divorce is the correct course of action, many people wish they could be divorced without going through the process of divorce. It is often highly stressful and associated with feelings of grief and loss.

One recent study attempted to measure the emotional, social and physical toll of divorce. As expected, most study participants reported significant (but temporary) negative consequences related to getting divorced.

The study was conducted in Denmark and included a total of 1,800 Danish men and women going through divorce. Researchers tracked the study participants’ mental health, physical pain, physical functioning and social lives after going through a divorce. The results showed that compared to the general population, the divorced group was faring worse on most or all of the above metrics.

These results are not surprising. But a unique feature of Danish divorce suggests that the outcomes could be even worse elsewhere. In Denmark, couples can immediately be granted a divorce if they are in agreement about the terms. In the United States and elsewhere, divorce takes much longer, often many months or up to a couple years if there is a lot of disagreement or a complex marital estate. The prolonged divorce process likely means that people outside of Denmark are experiencing more suffering than those involved in the study.

Improving efficiency and reducing conflict

This and other studies have demonstrated that high-conflict divorces tend to be the most stressful for all involved. And a protracted divorce both prolongs the stress and increases costs. Therefore, two good ways to reduce the emotional and physical toll of divorce are to keep it reasonably short and amicable.

If you and your spouse are able to negotiate with one another in good faith, you will likely be able to reach a settlement fairly quickly. You can also take advantage of litigation alternatives including mediation and collaborative law. These approaches usually result in a faster resolution and give each spouse more control over the outcome of the case. They are also a good way to reduce conflict between the parents and reduce exposure to conflict for the children.

To learn more about our firm’s divorce options and how we can help you, please visit our family law page.