Lucy S. McGough


No fault divorce is now popularly accepted, at least in non-Catholic populations of the West. Furthermore, the role of the court in divorce and separation disputes has dramatically adjusted from a fact-finder of fault, its traditional adjudicatory role, to an administrative overseer of the process of unwinding the family financial enterprise and approving parenting arrangements. Less appreciated because it is a still-incomplete contemporary transfiguration is the divorce court's role in attempting to enhance parents' future interactions with each other. It is estimated that one-fourth to one-third of divorcing parents have considerable difficulty regaining their footing after separation and perhaps one in ten clearly fail to adjust. Currently there are more than one million divorces in the United States per year involving more than a million children. Between 1970 and 1996, the proportion of children under eighteen who were living with only one parent more than doubled from one out of every eight children (twelve percent) to one out of every four children (twenty-eight percent). The potential harm from the process of divorce presents a significant public health risk to children of epidemic proportions.

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