SAMPLE EXCERPT:

This was true even after controlling for race, age, gender, and income."

To the groups mongering this fear of divorce and the stigma that engulfs its victims, these social issues are all secondary to the main reason: the sanctity of the religion that blessed the marriage initially.

The reconciliation of these conflicting problems is at the heart of all policy discourse surrounding divorce. While the marriage is viewed as a legal institution as constitutionally entitled for annulment as any other, the religious institution usually undergoes continued efforts after the legal divorce has taken place for annulment to be achieved. Arguments that policy movements should be made to ratify the sanctity of marriage and shun the sins of divorce are legally naive; the purpose of government is not to enforce the religious convictions of one group upon the members of another, but hopefully it is successfully able to support the religious preferences of one group at the same time as upholding those of another without harmful diminishment.

The religious debate spearheaded by the religious conservatives in the public arena brings with it an important conversation relevant to the prevalence of divorce: its unseemly side-effects. While marriage is the adult consent of two planning individuals, divorce usually involves the disillusion of a family, affecting more vulnerable members of society for whom policy should be created as a source of protection. Because grounds for legal divorce far outweigh those against it that proffer the unreasonable attachments to religion, swimming through the factual inaccuracies about "broken homes," their statistics, and the affects on the child and adults leaves one absolute: divorce is not easy.

Consequently, the children who are caught in the midst of a painful divorce are forced to weigh loyalties to their parents, feelings of trauma, and the confusion that stems from one parent's absence from the typical family life. The affects of divorce on the children are numerous. "Among the children affected by it, divorce has been linked to significantly higher rates of school dropout, teenage pregnancy, poorer health, suicide attempts, and depression."

To counter-act these negative responses, the vulnerable citizen should be buffered from the fall out with a policy response. School programs should be targeted to children of divorced parents, whose home lives may be thrown into such disarray that the normal and expected parental involvement is temporally inadequate, and public healthcare options should include requisite, subsidized counseling for children whose parents have undergone recent divorce. Instead of letting the children become the victims of their parents' poor choice, they should be given the tools to create a better life for themselves as their parents try to do the same.

The debate over divorce is too entrenched in religious individualism to gain legal footing, but the side-effects it leaves on the children whose lives it rips apart are undeniable. While many divorces end calmly and take marriages traumatic for the children under wing and dissolve them in favor of peace, others are less resolved, leaving the children of divorce in need of protection from the aftermath of inherent family turmoil. Policy should be created to buffer these consequences and aid the children of divorces through their parents' ending marriage so that instead of ending in a troubled childhood, they are the spring board for a more solid future.

Carlson, Allan. "Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce." National Review. Vol. 7, Iss. 20. New YorkL Nov. 7, 2005. P. 54.

Medved, Diane. "Review: The Case Against Divorce." Men Web. Available Online: http://www.menweb.org/throop/books/commentary/medved.html

"Preparing For your Marriage." Sacramental Preparation. Allen, Texas: St. Jude Catholic Church, 2004.

"The Case for Marriage they Don't Want You to Hear." The Coalition for Marriage, Family, and Couples Education. Available Online: http://www.smartmarriages.com/case.for.release.html

Waite, Linda J. "Does Divorce Make People Happy? Findings from a Study of Unhappy Marriages." The Coalition for Marriage, Family, and Couples Education. July 11, 2002. Available Online: http://www.smartmarriages.com/does.divorce.html

Ferrier, Susan. Marriage. London: Routledge Press, 1962.

"Preparing For your Marriage." Sacramental Preparation. Allen, Texas: St. Jude Catholic Church, 2004.

Ibid.

Carlson, Allan. "Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce." National Review. Vol. 7, Iss. 20. New YorkL Nov. 7, 2005. P. 54.

Waite, Linda J. "Does Divorce Make People Happy? Findings from a Study of Unhappy Marriages." The Coalition for Marriage, Family, and Couples Education. July 11, 2002. Available Online: http://www.smartmarriages.com/does.divorce.html

Carson, 55.