divorce, economic consequences, government, marriage, reconciliation


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 Publication Citation

Schramm, D., Harris, S. M., Whiting, J. B., Hawkins, A., Porter, R. D. & Brown*, M. D. (2013). Counting the economic cost of divorce: A Texas case study. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 54. 1-24, DOI: 10.1080/10502556.2012.725354

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Divorce & Remarriage




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor