Are Divorcing Parents More Likely to Get Back Together?


Divorce attorneys in Pasadena have seen celebrity couples like Billy Ray and Tish Cyrus get back together for the sake of their kids. The parents of Miley made headlines last year when they announced they would be separating after 17 years of marriage. Several months later, however, the couple reunited. According to a new study, the country singer and his wife aren't alone. An intriguing new report from the University of Minnesota shows that couples with children are more open to reconciliation.

Bill Doherty, the author of Interest in Marital Reconciliation Among Divorcing Parents, was prompted to conduct the study after wondering how many divorcing parents got back together.

"We tend to assume once people file for divorce, it's a done deal," professor Doherty said. What he found instead was surprising: After two years of research in Hennepin County, Doherty found 1 in 4 parents late in divorce proceedings honestly believed their marriage could be saved with hard work, while 3 in 10 said they would be willing to get help to fix their relationships. Doherty surveyed 2,500 couples with children whose divorces were pending but not finalized.

"In the 1960s, many family court professionals viewed themselves as having a responsibility to help couples reconcile if that was possible, or have a constructive divorce if reconciliation was not possible. This reconciliation-first approach did not survive the cultural changes of the 1970s," Doherty writes in the study. "Instead, divorce practitioners generally assume the inevitability of divorce once people begin the legal process... While many who enter the divorce process may have made a final decision to end their marriages, those who are uncertain or are open to reconciliation deserve more attention from professionals than they receive currently."

The study also found that 55 percent of people considering divorce said they were "growing apart." Forty percent said they were upset with how their spouse handles money and 18 percent cited "in-law problems." Most individuals involved in the study, however, cited multiple reasons for wanting a divorce.