Economic Costs and Policy Implications Associated With Divorce: Texas as a Case Study

David G. Schramm, Steven M. Harris, Jason B. Whiting, Alan J. Hawkins, Matt Brown, Rob Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Although many adults and children are resilient after divorce, it is common for marital breakups to precipitate the need for government assistance for families who had been self-sufficient. This study focuses on the economic costs of divorce associated with means-tested welfare programs in Texas, which fall into five central areas: medical assistance; cash assistance; food assistance; housing, energy, and utility assistance; and child care and development assistance. The study estimated that Texas spends at least $3.18 billion on divorce and its related consequences each year, accounting for approximately 12% of the total Texas budget in 2008. These results reinforce the notion that family actions often have public consequences. Policy implications related to services aimed at strengthening healthy marriage and decreasing "preventable" divorce via reconciliation services are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Divorce and Remarriage
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this article are strictly those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.


  • divorce
  • economic consequences
  • government
  • marriage
  • reconciliation


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