Mandatory Divorce Course in Denmark to Help Children Adapt

As part of a new divorce law that entered into force in Denmark on April 1, 2019, parents with children under the age of 18 who want to end their marriage must take a 30-minute online course.  

Previously, Danes seeking divorce could do so by clicking online, requiring no judge nor waiting period. Now, couples must complete a mandatory internet course, before their marriage can be dissolved. This digital application is designed to help them adapt to their new situation and consider the consequences of divorce for their children.  If couples fail to complete the course, they will remain officially married.

In 2018, Denmark registered 15,000 divorces, or 46.5% of marriages recorded last year.  Approximately 70% of children under age 18 live together with both their parents.

This program with 17 modules offers concrete solutions to potential conflict areas, ranging from school issues to how to handle birthday parties. Entitled “Cooperation after Divorce”, it is based on a program developed by researchers from the University of Copenhagen and has been approved by the government. More than half the children in Denmark (54%) are born to unmarried couples. If these parents decide to separate, the course is not mandatory. Unmarried couples with children.

The modules were tested on 2,500 volunteers between 2015 and 2018, and gave impressive results, according to Martin Hald, a psychologist and associate professor at the University of Copenhagen who helped create the course. “In 12 of 14 cases we could see that the program had a moderate to strong positive effect on mental and physical health,” he said, “improving levels of stress, depression, anxiety, physical or mental suffering, and leading to fewer work absences.”

Just as these tighter measures are being enacted in Denmark, the recent Justice Reform Law dated March 23, 2019 has relaxed the time period for divorce in France from 2 years to 1 year.

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