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About the project

The Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project was created in 2010 by the Minnesota Legislature through this statute.

The current mission is to develop best practices to help couples who are uncertain about divorcing or rebuilding their marriage, and to enhance the capacity of Minnesota therapists, lawyers, clergy, and others to assist these couples.

Funding comes through a five dollar surcharge on marriage license fees, along with grants and tuition from training programs for professionals.

The origins of the project go back to 2005 when Judge Bruce Peterson of the Hennepin County (Minnesota) Family Court approached Professor Bill Doherty of the University of Minnesota about finding ways to offer divorcing couples the opportunity for a "rest stop" on the road to divorce, allowing couples time to consider whether divorce is the best option or if reconciliation is a possibility. We then conducted a survey of divorcing couples with children and found that 30% of individual divorcing parents expressed ambivalence about whether divorce was the best option and an interest in specialized services that opened up the reconciliation option. That's what led to creating the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project at the University of Minnesota.

The project is housed in the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota.