Family Matters

Is Divorce Counseling for Happily Married Women Really Necessary?

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Understandably, some men aren’t too keen on the new service. Why fix something if it isn’t broken? Or, as one hapless fellow stopped on the streets of New York told CBS, “Sounds like walking into a meat grinder!”

At the Huffington Post, where Landers’ blog was reposted, readers reacted derisively. “I have the next idea. Pre-marital divorce,” commented  one. Another wrote: “Hilarious. ‘I love you with all my heart, honey. That’s why I’m meeting with my Divorce Financial Advisor now.'”

Jokes aside, though, it’s highly advisable for women to drill down on the nitty-gritty of family finances — in good times and bad. As high-profile attorney Gloria Allred told CBS: “Knowledge is power. Not only do I not think it’s bad luck for a happily married woman to think in this way, I think it is very smart on her part.”

Blissed-out wives aren’t the only ones who should think twice about preparing for the end. Last month, as gay marriages in New York kicked into high gear, I wrote about the importance of prenups for long-standing gay couples headed to the altar. It’s not about preparing for divorce, argued divorce lawyers in that piece, but about being prepared in general.

MORE: Children of Divorce Struggle More With Math and Social Skills

From a communications perspective, undivorce counseling might even make some sense. “Studies indicate that positive communication increases the likelihood of staying married,” says Liana Sayer, an associate professor of sociology at Ohio State University and author of a recent study about how employment status impacts divorce. “I would imagine that women who are totally in the dark about their financial circumstances may also have marriages where their partners aren’t communicating honestly and openly with each other.”

She adds: “I would be hard-pressed to characterize these women as happily married though.”

Bonnie Rochman is a reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @brochman. You can also continue the discussion on TIME‘s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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