Make it or break it: how Denmark plans to make couples stay married

Denmark has one of the highest divorce rates in the world and the highest one in Western Europe. In the last couple of years, almost 1 in 2 marriages came to an end. So pity! Is there something wrong with the Danes? A divorce is certainly not part of the hygge concept.

But the Danes are now the 2nd happiest nation in the world, right? It sounds very strange to have such a huge tendency to get divorced. But the consensus culture that spans the Danish society also influences couples (or soon-to-be divorcees). A large percentage of the cases ends with discussion and reaching a decision on how to split and still carry on with taking care of the kids. But not always!

What is special about the way Denmark decided to help people make the right decision when it comes to divorce? 

How can you get a divorce in Denmark today?

Easy peasy. It all gets done online. This is Denmark after all. You submit an online application, pay a fee of approximately 60$ and in a week or so, you receive the divorce certificate. Wait, what? Is that really it? You bet. This is what many criticize hardly, as they consider it to be the reason why Denmark has such a high divorce rate.

How is it going to change?

Well, the procedure will remain as is. What is about to happen is extra care for the children of the married soon-to-get-divorced couple. So, especially in the cases where the couple has children, the state has decided to offer free counselling. They studied the stages of the divorce process and identified the things that are really the hardest (or where people find more difficulty or misery). And they will offer to provide for free advisory support to the troubled couples.

How will this happen? 

We told you. Denmark is a technologically advanced country. So, the state has developed a mobile app, through which the couples can get information and support, about everything around a divorce: from how to better communicate with your other half to how to announce it to kids. Even how life will be after the divorce. They say it is a mandatory 3-month-reflection or think-about-it period. Although the counselling will be mandatory, it is up to the couple members to decide how many hours they will need.

Why did they do it?

The aim of this counselling is not necessarily to move people away from divorce. Sometimes, divorce is the only way. But many more times, divorce is really premature. The Danes believe that this counselling will make couples see the whole matter of breaking up in a more realistic way (how Danish!).

It is about them and the children, who are affected. The couple must get to know how the divorce will change their lives and how these changes affect their children. Even if the divorce is an easy one (i.e. both sides want it and can discuss to sort things out), there are still implications. Better be aware, than not knowing at all.

Everybody deserves a second chance or at least the chance to prepare for bad endings, right?