Brock and I were in the car the other day when an ad came on the radio for a local divorce attorney (these have increased lately – I guess there is some truth to this being “divorce season”).
I barely registered the ad, but apparently Brock was listening.
When the ad came to an end, he turned to me and said, “I think there should be a mandatory six month waiting period for divorce.”
(Note: I know some states currently have a waiting period; Georgia is not one of them.)
I was shocked. Not at the thought, but at the subject matter. Contrary to what you may think, I rarely discuss divorce in my personal life.
My first reaction to his statement was a sense of comfort. I want to marry a guy that thinks divorce should not be a quick and easy solution. I want to marry a guy that doesn’t have a propensity to run away from a challenge. I want to marry a guy that wants to be married.
But it’s not always that simple.
“In most cases I agree with you,” I said, “But in my situation or in cases of abuse, that would have been an additional assault by the courts. It would have left me open to more financial harm while I waited on the calendar.”
I continued, explaining my thoughts on the issue. I like the idea of a mandatory waiting period, be it six or twelve months. It gives both parties the gift of time. Time for counseling. Time to think through the consequences of a major decision. Time to work out the details of the separation of two lives. Ideally, this would be done prior to the decision to split, but we know that is not always the case.
I also think there needs to be an exception. In cases of abuse or abandonment, a waiting period only prolongs the agony and allows more harm to occur. I think there should be a process (that does not require excessive court fees) where the abused or abandoned spouse can appeal for the wait period to be lifted.
But then there is another part of me that thinks it is none of the state’s business. That I should be allowed to marry and divorce without their approval. Is this a slippery slope issue that could lead to more government control or is it a mandate that would help to preserve the family structure?
I would love to hear from all of you. Do you live in a state with a mandatory wait period? How did that affect you?
Do you agree with a wait period? If so, how long? Would you want exceptions?
Follow Up – Court Ordered Pause: Part Two