Some concerned lawmakers have drafted a new law for states to consider adopting. It’s called the Second Chances Act, and it’s aimed at what they call “preventable divorce.” It basically makes it harder to get a divorce right away in situations where the law thinks you can work it out.
The law could force you to enter a year-long cooling off period, make you write a letter to your spouse to warn them that divorce is coming, and require you to take classes on reconciliation. According to the article I read, this law is aimed at couples who are “ambivalent” about divorce, or who are getting divorced for “soft reasons” like lack of communication.
The divorce rate may be higher than we think it should be, but treating people like children is not the answer. I don’t think the law should put up roadblocks that assume you can’t make your own decisions. And whose business is it anyway? If a couple decides it’s best to divorce, they should be able to do it, in my opinion.
Luckily, the law allows the requirements to be waived in special circumstances, such as when the reason for the divorce involves adultery, physical abuse or addiction. Still, I don’t think it reflects the real world. Are there really that many people who wake up one day and say “Eh, I think I’ll get a divorce today” without more thought? If you’re ambivalent about getting a divorce, then maybe you shouldn’t do it. But ultimately, I think the choice should be yours.
I don’t predict that this law will get passed and if somehow it does, I don’t think it will have a huge effect on the divorce rate. I see it trapping people and making an already difficult situation even more difficult. It sounds demeaning and humiliating. You’re not a criminal; you just want a divorce.
Here in Illinois we have a phony six month waiting period to get a divorce if you file for irreconcilable differences. I call it phony because it can be waived by both parties and if it’s not then you are in a contested divorce situation which would take more than six months anyway.
Sure, you shouldn’t dive into a divorce without thinking it through. Same with marriage, or having children, or any major decision. But these are very personal choices. Maybe I’m being paranoid, but we do we really want the law to tell us what’s best for us when it comes to our relationships? These “family values” advocates are the same people that don’t want too much government interference in their life. Pot meet kettle.
No states have fully adopted the Second Chances Act, yet, according to the article and since I only really care about Illinois, I’m not expecting it to happen here any time soon.
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