By the end of this fiscal year, the United States government will have reportedly spent about $800 million on its Healthy Marriage Initiative. The Healthy Marriage Initiative funded a variety of programs to reportedly help couples have better relationships, to encourage marriage and to prevent divorce. When the program was funded about a decade ago, the goal was to promote “healthy married households” with the idea that the individuals in these households would be less likely to be impoverished or turn to crime.
Study Finds That Federal Funds Are Not Preventing Divorce
A recent study from the National Center for Family and Marriage Research found that the Healthy Marriage Initiative is having little or no effect on state marriage and divorce rates. From 2000 – 2010, fewer marriages were reported across the United States. Divorce rates were inconsistent from state to state during that time; however, there was little difference in states that spent a lot of money pursuant to the Healthy Marriage Initiative and those that spent little.
The results of the study are raising questions about whether federal money to prevent divorce and/or encourage marriage is a good use of resources. Critics of the program argue that the money may be better spent on other federal initiatives since there is an alleged lack of measurable benefit from this program. However, there are also those who criticize the way the program was evaluated and argue that it may be more successful than the research indicates.
Ultimately, the decision about whether to divorce is an intensely personal decision that must be made by each couple. If you are considering a divorce, please browse our FREE library of articles to find out more about the divorce process in Washington State and about your legal rights.