Synopsis by Mark Deming
An unhappy couple discover breaking up really is hard to do in this satiric comedy. Richard Harmon (Dick Van Dyke) and his wife, Barbara (Debbie Reynolds), are a typical married couple in American Suburbia -- which is to say they're not very happy with each other. After 15 years together, Richard and Barbara decide they've reached the end of their collective rope, and after several rounds of marriage counseling proves fruitless, they file for divorce. Between negotiating child custody, alimony, and finding new places to live, Richard and Barbara discover divorce isn't appreciably easier than being married; meanwhile, Richard makes a new friend in Nelson Downes (Jason Robards), a fellow divorcé who would love nothing more than for Richard to marry his former wife, Nancy (Jean Simmons), and take away the burden of alimony. Also featuring Van Johnson, Lee Grant, Shelley Berman, and Eileen Brennan in her first film role, Divorce American Style earned an Oscar nomination for Norman Lear and Robert Kaufman's original screenplay.
counselor, divorce, husband-and-wife, marital-problems, alimony, custody-battle