The legal dissolution of marriage is rarely experienced as a discrete event in the lives of divorcing couples. Divorce is instead part of an ongoing process that begins well before the decision to separate and extends often years beyond the divorce decree. Divorce is thus highly relevant to studies of life-span human development. In the present entry, contemporary research on divorce is reviewed, beginning with a brief history of divorce in the Unites States and current demography. Next, research on predictors of divorce—intrapersonal, interpersonal, and contextual—is summarized, followed by review of postdivorce outcomes of divorced individuals and their children. The entry concludes with a discussion of interventions related to divorce.

Historical Trends

Divorce was relatively uncommon in the United States until the latter part of the ...

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