Divorce Saves Lives, But Focus on the Family Wants to Make it Harder for Abuse Victims to Divorce

When “no fault” divorce laws started passing one state at a time, starting with Governor Ronald Reagan in California in 1969, researchers wanted to see the effect. In states that passed unilateral no-fault divorce, they observed:

    • The suicide rate for wives dropped by 8-16%.
    • The domestic violence rate by and against both men and women dropped by 30%.
    • The homicide rate of women murdered by an intimate dropped by 10%.

(Source: Stevenson and Wolfers, “Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: Divorce Laws and Family Distress,” Harvard Quarterly Journal of Economics (Feb. 2006): 267, 286.)


Focus on the Family Calls for Making Divorce Harder, Even for Abuse Victims

Some organizations wish to turn back the clock to 1969 and do away with no-fault divorce. Focus on the Family is one of them. (The Colson Center is another. I'll discuss them below.) This interview from November 11, 2021, calls for doing away with laws that allow abuse and betrayal victims to use current no-fault divorce provisions.

Note: in the interview, the president of Focus on the Family, Jim Daly, said he was in favor of making divorce legally more difficult to obtain, and he didn't offer any exception for abused wives, or wives of serial adulterers or pedophiles.

Focus on the Family has become an unsafe organization to send people to:

  • Theologically, they block domestic violence victims from divorcing. They tell devoutly religious victims that abuse is not one of their accepted biblical grounds for divorce. The president, Jim Daly, says publicly that God "hates divorce in every case," even where there is serial adultery or abandonment. Focus's article on child molesters says, "God hates divorce" and suggests ways the wife might work on the marriage. Their official organizational policy does not condone divorce for physical or emotional abuse, even though the Bible does. (Their staff will tell an abuse victim to "leave," "get to safety," "go," or "separate," but it is meant to be temporary and reconciliation is the stated goal.)


  • Legally, they want to pass laws to make it harder for abuse victims to leave their abusers, by rolling back the 50-year-old divorce laws (even though the divorce rate is nearly as low as it was 50 years ago. See details below.) They offer no exception for domestic violence or for wives of serial adulterers or pedophiles. They are incredibly ill-informed about how expensive divorce is today. And if you choose an at-fault divorce, the process is often longer, more expensive, open to the public, more traumatizing to the children, and is conducted almost like a criminal trial that requires high standards of evidence. Can you see the problem for an abused stay-at-home mother? She doesn't have the money for an at-fault divorce. Prior to no-fault divorce laws, a judge could look at the evidence of abuse and say no, and send the victim back to their abuser. No wonder suicide and homicide rates dropped in states that passed unilateral no-fault divorce laws in the 1970s and early 1980s. Abuse victims were able to get away easier! If Focus on the Family and the Colson Center are able to change the laws, many abuse victims will be trapped with no way out. No-fault divorce laws favors abuse victims.  At-fault divorce laws favor abusers and cheaters who are clever enough not to leave sufficient evidence.


  • Financially, they use donations to pay for STOP DIVORCE advertisements that have no caveat for domestic violence, serial cheating, or even pedophilia. (See an example here: https://lifesavingdivorce.com/fotfabuse/



Divorce Rate is Nearly As Low As It Was 50 Years Ago

Although the divorce-per-married-woman rate lept up from 1970-1984, it slowly started a path of decline. Today, the divorce-per-married-woman rate is LOWER than it was in 1970. (See how this is calculated, below.)

Divorce Rate

,How is it calculated? The divorce rate = [(number of women divorced in the past 12 months) / (number of women divorced in the past 12 months + number of currently married women)]*1000 s are represented as the number of women aged 15 or older who married in the past year per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15 or older.


The Horrible Reality of Divorce Before 1970

If you're under the age of 70, you probably don't remember what divorce was like prior to 1969.

If your spouse was malicious to you or cheating on you, you had to provide adequate evidence to the court. It was handled similarly to a criminal trial. In some states, there were juries that decided whether a battered wife or browbeaten husband could divorce or not.  And if the court didn't find the evidence convincing, it could refuse to allow the divorce and send a victim back home to a batterer or cheater or a child molester. Sometimes the only option for victims was to flee to save their life and sanity.

Each state had different rules (and they still do), but in states that allowed divorce only for adultery, an entire cottage industry cropped up to fabricate photographs purporting to show a man (or woman) disrobed in a compromising position with a partner.

Wealthy people could just move to a state with more lax laws just long enough to establish residency and divorce there. But the average person who was being abused could not.  Divorce was long, expensive, complex, and publicly humiliating because you had to air your allegations in public. No-fault divorce allows you to divorce without humiliating your spouse publicly.

What in the World is Going on at the Colson Center?


I was brought up in a wonderful Evangelical Christian home, and I'm an avid book reader.  Chuck Colson's book, Born Again, was one of my favorites. It was the story of President Richard Nixon's "hatchet man" who ended up in federal prison in the aftermath of Watergate. But God humbled him and made him a better man. Prison was the best thing to happen to Colson because that's where he found the Lord. That callous arrogant man who wasn't afraid to commit criminal acts was softened, and his life changed. He came to know other prisoners and their stories and saw them as human beings. He developed an organization called Prison Fellowship, a group I've supported. His book inspired me to do jail ministry myself, and for years I preached the Gospel to hundreds of women inmates at the largest women's jail in the United States. Mr. Colson passed away in 2012. Three years later, the Colson Center was formed in Colorado. It bears his name, but he didn't found it.

(Note: As Christians, we are against frivolous divorce, but we know the Bible does allow for divorce (and even commands divorce 3 times) for serious reasons. See verses here. About half of U.S. divorces are for serious reasons: a pattern of sexual immorality, physical abuse, chronic emotional abuse, domestic violence, felony behavior, life-destroying addictions, or abandonment/neglect. Here are the findings of four U.S. studies.)

Now let's discuss the Colson Center that was founded 3 years after Charles Colson's death. (Registered in Colorado in 2015, and was granted their nonprofit tax-exempt status with the IRS in 2016.) Chuck Colson himself was divorced and remarried. He did indeed feel that divorce "harms women, children, and the poor," but when asked why, he quoted a Time magazine article mentioning the Waite and Gallagher study. But here's the problem: Waite and Gallagher found that domestic violence and high-conflict marriages were the exceptions and that divorce in those cases had better outcomes than staying. (Here are the highlights: "Does the Waite Study Really Say Your Marriage Will Become Happy If You Stay 5 Years? No!") Other researchers, such as Hawkins and Booth, and Amato, did more in-depth studies and found the same: that wellbeing of both mother and children improved after a divorce (on average) when the reason was to escape a highly toxic situation.

Recently Colson Center's president, John Stonestreet, the host of the Breakpoint broadcast, teamed up with Focus on the Family's president, Jim Daly, to attack no-fault divorce laws and to mock those who take advantage of these laws to get free, suggesting that the only people who benefit are adulterers, and ignoring Christian domestic violence victims. These two leaders don't really understand the importance of these laws to protect abuse victims. Focus on the Family's official online divorce policy does not condone divorce for domestic violence ... EVER.

Both organizations are based in Colorado Springs, CO, and both are sponsoring speakers and videos that mislead people about no-fault divorce. They both promote a poorly researched Focus on the Family article by Amy J. Desai that suggests that divorce is universally destructive to kids (and gives no exceptions for child abuse, domestic violence, or other types of serious conflict). That article mentions many top researchers of the past 30 years, but misrepresents their views on divorce. (See my claim-by-claim analysis of it here:  12 Half-Truths in “How Could Divorce Affect My Kids?” from Focus on the Family by Amy Desai, J.D.) One mother in my Life-Saving Divorce group was so influenced by that article, she stayed with her violent husband even though she wanted to divorce. She tucked that article in her Bible. A year later, he beat her and left her for dead a year after. (Here's is my video interview with her. LINK.)

Someone in my Life-Saving Divorce group is a Colson Center fan. She was horribly shocked by John Stonestreet's Feburary 2022 Breakpoint broadcast. She wanted me to listen. He was using the information from the misleading Focus on the Family article. Two times I contacted him and his staff, but he did not respond. Instead, the next month, he promoted an author who is anti-no-fault divorce and wants it to become more difficult to divorce.

Both Focus on the Family and Colson Center distort the conclusions of a famous researcher, Dr. Judith Wallerstein, in their articles/broadcasts that suggest that divorce is universally destructive to children. (See what Dr. Wallerstein said about divorce and children here: 10 Quotes on Kids and Divorce From Dr. Judith Wallerstein).  She found that 7 in 10 kids of divorce turned out fine: "average," "very well," or "outstanding."  Wallerstein's words:

“I am not against divorce. How could I be? I’ve seen more examples of wretched, demeaning, and abusive marriage than most of my colleagues. I’m keenly aware of the suffering… I’m also aware that for many parents the decision to divorce is the most difficult decision in their lives; they cry many a night before taking such a drastic step. —Judith S. Wallerstein, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce (New York: Hyperion, 2000), p. xxxix

“Children raised in extremely unhappy or violent intact homes face misery in childhood and tragic challenges in adulthood.” —Judith S. Wallerstein, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce (New York: Hyperion, 2000), p. 300.

“And I am, of course, aware of the many voices on the radio, on television, and in certain… religious circles that say divorce is sinful… But I don’t know of any research, mine included, that says divorce is universally detrimental to children.” —Judith S. Wallerstein, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce (New York: Hyperion, 2000), p. xxxix

So, if you are a decent person or a Christian abuse survivor who is grateful for no-fault divorce laws (especially if you live in Colorado) please tell your story to your lawmakers. LINK to Colorado lawmakers.  Talk to the FOTF and Colson Center's president, staff, and board members. They are likely to attend your church or maybe were graduated from the same Christian school you were. Here's a list of executives, high-ranking staff, and board members taken directly from the Colson Center's public home page online, and from their 2020 PUBLIC 990 tax filings.  By the way, the public list of board members is required by the IRS 990s for nonprofit organizations in the U.S. 



















If you live in Colorado Springs, please share your story with these people. My private Facebook group "The Life-Saving Divorce for Separated and Divorced Christians" has more than 3,500 members. Guess where most of them live? Yep, Colorado Springs is the #1 city. They needed Christian support and weren't finding it there.


For domestic violence victims and serial adultery/addiction victims,

Focus on the Family is unsafe, and so is the Colson Center.

When an organization's theology traps people in bondage to an abuser, and they encourage others to do the same,

something is wrong with their theology.

Are you going through a life-saving divorce? I’d like to invite you to my private Facebook group, "Life-Saving Divorce for Separated or Divorced Christians." Just click the link and ANSWER the 3 QUESTIONS. This is a group for women and men of faith who have walked this path, or are considering it. Supporters and people helpers are also welcome.  I’ve written a book about spiritual abuse and divorce for Christians. Also, sign up for my email list below.



Start Here

Physical and Emotional Abuse & Infidelity

God Allows Divorce to Protect Victims


Does God Hate Divorce? No, Most English Bible Translations Don’t Say That


How to Find a Good Supportive Church


What If My Pastor Says It Would Be Wrong to Get Divorced for Abuse?


Divorce Saves Lives: The Surprising (Wonderful!) Truth About Divorce Nobody Told You

Will I Ever Find Love Again? Dating After Divorce: Good News

Finding Happiness and Health After Divorce


Thriving After Divorce: These Christians Tell their Stories

Self-Doubt, Second-Guessing Ourselves, and Gaslighting

Children and Divorce: Researchers Give Hope


High Conflict Divorce and Parenting

Recommended Reading List and Free Resources for Christians and Other People of Faith


Common Myths






GET THE BOOK! The Life-Saving Divorce is about divorces for very serious reasons: a pattern of sexual immorality, physical abuse, chronic emotional abuse, life-altering addictions, abandonment, or severe neglect. This book will give you hope for your future, and optimism about your children. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.



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