Dr. Drew Thinks ObamaCare Will Mean Fewer Divorces
Divorce itself is a $50 billion per year industry. No, that isn't a typo.
By Jennifer M. Wood
Having counseled the likes of Dennis Rodman, Gary Busey, Heidi Fleiss, and Tom Sizemore—with cameras rolling, no less—one would imagine that Dr. Drew Pinsky doesn’t rattle easily. For 30 years, he has dished out advice on love, sex, and more than a few peculiar carnal predicaments as the host of radio (and, briefly, MTV) show Loveline. And a string of popular reality therapy shows for VH1—Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew, Sex Rehab With Dr. Drew, and Sober House among them—have cemented Pinksy’s reputation as pop culture’s favorite addiction specialist. (Plus, dude knows how to rock a set of specs.)
But even the good doctor was surprised when confronted with some of the staggering statistics presented in Joe Sorge’s new documentary, Divorce Corp., which seems to indicate that when it comes to marriage dissolution, 50 is the magic number, as in: 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce (yep, it’s still true); the average divorce costs $50,000; and divorce itself is a $50 billion per year industry.
No, that is not a typo. $50 billion.
In between his radio show, late-night HLN talk show, and sundry other projects, we caught up with the happily married Pinksy (22 years and counting) to chat about Divorce Corp., which he narrates, and how Obamacare just may help to increase the number of shiny, happy couples in America.
What are some of the facts you learned in the making of this film that most surprised you?
Well what you’re going to see is the fact that family court is a system that is outside of your usual constitutional privilege. They’re not like other courts; they’re considered courts of equity, not courts of law. So all kinds of different rules apply. And really, it only serves itself. It encourages people to bleed one another dry with services rendered from evaluators and attorneys. It’s so crazy when you really see how it works—and when you realize that the Constitution doesn’t apply. And the fact the judges are so chummy with the attorneys: they can work for the attorneys, do presentations for them, and then ultimately join their firm. That is absolutely insane in my opinion.
A film like this does make you wonder how many divorced couples have actually sought professional help. Divorce seems to have become the easier solution.
Well it’s obviously not easy, as the film shows, but it is in the sense that it comes to mind easily. Divorce is thought of as an “easy solution” and is high on the list of possible choices people make when things aren’t going well in a relationship, when it should be the very last resort.
We have mandated insurance this year, which includes mental health insurance. So the cost of mental health services—of sitting in a therapist’s office for a few months—may have massive benefit. Now people can’t complain or use the cost of therapy as an excuse. Especially when you consider the cost of divorce. If you look at this documentary, it’s just an argument that is empty.
The film talks about Scandinavia having a similar divorce rate to the U.S. but that the way in which it is handled is much different, and truly much easier. How does the U.S. divorce rate compare to other countries?
I don’t know the numbers off the top of my head but I’m certain that we have a higher, if not the highest, rate around. And if you come from divorce, you’re more likely to have a divorce. If you’re the product of a dysfunctional, unstable relationship, you’re more attracted to people that help you play out that trauma from your past and it’s something people need to be aware of.
The documentary talks about the introduction of no-fault divorces in the 1970s. Did this play a part in the corporatization of the whole process?
Of course. It made divorce easier, both socially and legally. And now maybe raising awareness about how hard divorce really is will push things in another direction. It’s one of the catch-22 arguments about the Scandinavia circumstances: if we make it easier, are there going to be more divorces? But that’s not really the point of the documentary. The point of the film is that divorce really only serves itself now, because of the way the system works, but it can be done differently.
Divorce Corp. opens in select cities nationwide on January 10, 2014.
Image via Veer