Lowering Divorce Rate Good for Children

Family First Media Release 5 May 2010
Family First NZ is welcoming the latest statistics on marriage and divorce showing a declining rate of divorce to its lowest rate since 1980, and the lowest number since 1989.

“The number of divorces continues to decrease which is always a good result for families and especially for children,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “The problem with the no-fault divorce laws is that it never considered the harmful effects it can have on children and adults. It is far more preferable for low conflict marriages to receive the support and counselling that they need to restore the relationships and the family unit.”

“The number of marriages, while still a very low rate from the peak of 1971, is showing a small improvement which is welcome. Marriage has been impacted over the past decades by an increased level and acceptance of divorce, cohabiting, and unwed childbearing. NZ has a high teenage birth rate and sole parents with dependent children make up 30 percent of families with children.”

“The question we must ask is whether the decreasing rate of marriage has been good for society. We would argue that it has caused untold harm,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Whenever marriage is promoted, it has often been labeled as an attack on solo or divorced parents, and that has kept us from recognizing the qualitative benefits of marriage which have been discovered from decades of research. In virtually every category that social science has measured, children and adults do better when parents get married and stay married – provided there is no presence of high conflict or violence.”

“The civil unions legislation has to be a complete white elephant, and simply distracted the government from developing policies and tax incentives for marriage.”

“Marriage is an important social good with a smorgasbord of positive outcomes for children and adults alike. Governments should focus on, and encourage and support what works,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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