"A complete emotional divorce is not possible," explains Minnesota's
Doherty. "You always carry that person around with you; a part of you
retains a 'we' identity." And if there are children, exes live on in the
new household as permanent extensions of their children, arriving to pick
up and deliver the kids, exerting parental needs and desires that have to
be accommodated, especially at holiday and vacation times. What's more,
the ex's parents are in the picture too, as the children's grandparents,
as is all of the ex's extended family, as aunts and uncles and cousins.
The divorce revolution's collective consequences for children are striking. Taking into account both divorce and non-marital childbearing, sociologist Paul Amato estimates that if the United States enjoyed the same level of family stability today as it did in 1960, the nation would have 750,000 fewer children repeating grades, million fewer school suspensions, approximately 500,000 fewer acts of teenage delinquency, about 600,000 fewer kids receiving therapy, and approximately 70,000 fewer suicide attempts every year ( correction appended ) . As Amato concludes, turning back the family-stability clock just a few decades could significantly improve the lives of many children.