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Lost that loving feeling? ‘Second chances’ bill could extend divorce dissolution from 90 days to 1 year

divorceOLYMPIA — It’s Valentine’s Day but for those couples who can’t seem to find that warm, fuzzy feeling anymore, they might find that not only is breaking up hard to do, it could also take a lot more time for Washington residents — one year to be exact.

In the state of Washington, couples that file for divorce must wait 90 days before the decree is formally recognized by the court. Senate bill 5614 will be heard Friday — the bill is seeking to amend this waiting period and extend it to one year. The bi-partisan bill is supported by conservative Democrats and Republicans.

Called the “Family Second Chances Act,” the bill cites the negative impact divorce has on family and states “divorce causes poverty, juvenile delinquency, and lower scholastic achievement among children of our state.” Stating that any reduction in the number of divorces in the state would benefit children, the bill seeks to empower couples with “education on nonadversarial approaches to divorce, reconciliation information and resources.”

To ensure that couples seeking a divorce have such materials available to them, the bill calls for the creation of a handbook that would be provided by the county auditor when anyone applies for a marriage license as well as when a person files for divorce. The handbook would provide information on prenuptial agreements, custodial responsibilities, child support and other issues.

The bill applies to any Washington state resident, military personnel stationed in the state and those in domestic partnerships.

The one-year waiting period can be waived by the court if either person is convicted of a violent or sexual felony, threats of violence from one party against the other or against a child.

7 comments

  • NAVYTOWN

    Why not have a one-year waiting period to get MARRIED? That might prevent a lot of quickie marriages that often end in divorce after a child comes along.

  • Lennbob

    This is patently ridiculous. For most people, divorce, like bankruptcy, is a measure of last resort. And, if the state of the marriage is that bad, forcing that couple to wait one year will only prolong the agony–especially for their *kids*.

    I'd be curious to see what experience the legislators who introduced this atrocity actually have with divorce…

  • Samsboy

    It's reassuring to know that these Republican legislators stand by their small government principles and refrain from intruding in our personal lives.

  • cheyenne

    My ex-husband had an affair and got somebody else pregnant while we were "happily" married. As soon as I found out, I filed for divorce, and it was granted 3 months later. If this bill were the law back then, I would have still been married to my cheating ex-husband while another woman had his baby, no thank-you!
    That was 7 years ago and I am married to a wonderful man and we have our own family now. I don't think the government should be telling me how long I need to wait to get divorced when every situation is different. A general, one-size fits all law just prolongs the misery.

  • kbrown

    This is a problem on several levels. The government's job is not to encourage or discourage anything to do with marriage. Their job is to give it legal standing. That's it. I want to know who is behind this? There are so many ultra conservative groups that are going state by state writing legislation and then putting tons of money behind it. It's much easier to tackle States than it is the Federal Government. That is why they are so into States Rights and small Central Government.

  • Kate

    why should one partner who is suffering violent abuse that children are probably witnessing or subjected to have to WAIT for the other to be CONVICTED before their relationship is formally and legally ended?

  • andy

    Instead of working on worthless issues such as unemployment rate, financial budgeting for the state, how to lessen gun crimes, etc…I like where this elected official is focusing his efforts…on divorce lol. I liked the idea above- (if this ridiculous idea got passed- instead of a year waiting period to get a divorce, what about a year waiting to get married?) “Couples must read a pamphlet and work to try to work things out.” Wow…maybe next year ill get a pamphlet on how to parent. I just want to personally thank that Rep. Spokesman I saw on tv tonight for his excellence in advancing our modern issues with excellent ideas. (Notice tge sarcasm)

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