Model divorce legislation urges ‘second chances’

By November 1, 2011Divorce

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Divorce on Tuesday, November 1, 2011

After a long day of work, you may check the mail after walking through the front door, expecting to find bills and unwanted advertisements. However, what if you received a letter from your spouse informing you that your marriage was currently in trouble and that a divorce may prove necessary if certain changes aren’t made?

This is precisely the situation that would play out under a model legislation package drafted by a panel of legal and academic experts.

Referred to as the “Second Chances Act,” the model legislation is specifically designed to assist those couples who are considering divorce for “soft reasons,” meaning those marriages where the couples were relatively happy but have since grown apart or lost their ability to communicate.

According to the experts behind the Second Chances Act, divorces predicated on these grounds can generally be avoided. More importantly, they can prove especially harmful to the couple’s unsuspecting children.

“We are suggesting some modest reforms because we believe that there are preventable divorces, and that children are most harmed by those divorces that are preventable,” said Professor William J. Doherty, a social science professor with the University of Minnesota.

In addition to the letter informing a spouse of the need to work on marital problems, the Second Chances Act also calls for a mandatory one-year “cooling off” period before a divorce can be finalized, mandatory attendance at divorce-education classes and the development of state resources to assist couples most at-risk of divorce.

It is worth noting that the authors behind the Second Chances Act have also pointed out that the legislation is in no way a call for the end of no-fault divorce and that certain exceptions could be carved out for special circumstances (i.e., spousal abuse, addiction, etc.).

Source: The Washington Times, “Divorce-prevention plan advises time, talk,” Cheryl Wetzstein, Oct. 23, 2011