Here is a Valentine’s Day topic, sort of: The Family Policy Institute of Washington cites a bi-partisan effort in socially-liberal Washington State to extend the waiting period to get a divorce from 90 days to a year:
A bill aimed at lowering divorce rates by extending waiting periods for divorce was introduced in the Washington State Senate last week and is scheduled for a hearing this Friday, February 15th, at 8 am in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
Currently Washington State requires a couple to wait 90 days before a divorce can be finalized, but SB 5614 would extend that to one year. The one-year period may be waived by the court when either party is convicted of a violent or sexual felony or if one party makes a threat of physical violence against the other party or a minor child.
The bill, with bi-partisan support, also makes information about reconciliation available to couples who have filed for divorce.
The recommendations in the bill came from a study done by William Doherty of the University of Minnesota and Leah Ward Sears, former Supreme Court Justice of the Georgia State Supreme Court. Their study, and the accompanying recommendations, is billed as the Family Second Chances Act
You can read the entire study by clicking here.
Their study found that about 40% of couples in divorce proceedings have one or both spouses interested in reconciliation.
Even a modest reduction in divorce rates nationwide would benefit more than 400,000 children each year and would provide significant cost savings to taxpayers.
At the link you can find an entire study on the issue, detailing the social costs of divorce, that you can download.
Are there other measures that could be taken that might make divorce less common?
This has to do with the state, of course, not the church. Indeed, the state has an interest in marriage, since the family is the basis of civil society. Some people are saying that the state should just get out of the marriage business, leaving that to the church, but how could the church be in charge of a civil institution that includes non-believers?
At any rate, is there anything the church could or should do to combat divorce?
Or do we just need to accept the reality that what God has joined man will put asunder? Is it enough to just forbid it?