Green Law Office, P.A.

One year waiting period could lower divorce rate, some believe

Nearly half of marriages in the United States end in divorce, but one group believes that rate can be lowered.

Recently, a team of researchers asked 2,500 divorcing parents in Minnesota whether they were interested in services to help them reconcile. At least 10 percent of the couples were interested and in about 30 percent of the cases, one of the spouses was interested.

This data has fueled the debate over enacting a one year waiting period for couples going through a divorce. Some believe this data shows that some marriages can be saved if the couple seeks out services to help them reconcile.

The proposed legislation is called the Second Chances Act and would require couples to complete education courses that provide them with information about reconciliation. Additionally, if the couple has children, they would be required to take parenting classes. Currently, 46 states require divorcing couples with children take parenting classes.

Those in favor of the legislation also point out that only a minority of divorcing couples experience high conflict and abuse during their marriages. Many couples seek divorce after drifting apart and when they find they can't handle every day arguments.

Regardless if this type of legislation ever passes, residents of Minnesota and elsewhere who are thinking about divorce should have a firm understanding of all the related legal issues. Sound legal advice about divorce and its alternatives can help persons with serious marital problems. It can give them the comfort of being fully informed about all available options before proceeding.

Source: The Washington Post, "Delaying divorce to save marriages," William J. Doherty and Leah Ward Sears, Oct. 26, 2011

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