Judith Wallerstein and the Great Divorce Debate

Judith Wallerstein and the Great Divorce Debate

Are the Unions the Answer to Managed Care?

By Rob Waters

March/April 2001

Judith Wallerstein ushers a reporter into the living room of her spacious home in Marin County, California, decorated with African masks, Japanese woodcuts and Hopi Kachina dolls. Outside a large picture window, the San Francisco Bay beckons invitingly just a stone's throw away. "Did you see the story in The New York Times on Saturday?" she asks as we settle onto the couch. "The headline was terrible, the story was good, and the blouse was great," she says, adding that she'd gotten phone calls from friends congratulating her on the article (and especially the blouse in the photo).

Wallerstein, now 78, is the grand dame of divorce researchers; she's been studying the impact of divorce on children for 30 years, since the modern American divorce boom was launched in California in the early 1970s. She's troubled by what she's seen, but she insists the Times headline, which pegged her as a "Resolute Adversary of Divorce," is a serious distortion of her actual views. "I'm not an opponent of divorce. I've never said, 'Don't divorce.' I've never said, 'If you divorce, your children are going to be in trouble.' I have said divorce is a serious issue for children, yes. I've said it's not en passant, it's not a passing issue."

In a succession of three bestselling books based on her research, she's warned that divorce affects children far more negatively and enduringly than many

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Topic: Couples

Tags: couples | divorce | families

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