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Description: Objective: To study how divorce behavior in Denmark changed following a July 2013 reform that repealed mandatory separation periods for uncontested divorces, instead allowing for immediate administrative divorce. Background: Most countries have mandatory separation periods that couples undergo before they can divorce. Separation allows couples a grace-period, during which they may reconcile and stay together. Yet, the impact of separation periods on divorce risk remains understudied. Methods: Using monthly time series data on divorce rates from 2007-2018 (T=144), the research brief estimates the size and shape of the policy impact of the July 2013 reform. Using monthly administrative population data on all ever-married couples (N*T=40,431,848) the study further calculates the average characteristics of married couples in Denmark who would have remained together absent the reform. Results: After an initial spike in the divorce rate driven by couples divorcing earlier, the divorce rate settled at a 9.7 percent higher level compared to pre-reform. Couples who divorced because of the reform had been married for fewer years, were ethnic Danish, and had high school degree as highest educational level. Conclusion: Mandatory separation periods keep a minor, but substantial, share of potential divorcees together.


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