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One Year to Get a Divorce? Senate Bill Would Extend State's Waiting Period

Do you think Washington's current waiting period of 90 days is long enough? Let us know in the comments section.

A bill that would lengthen the divorce waiting period from 90 days to one year in Washington was heard Friday in the state Senate Law and Justice Committee.

Do you think our state's divorce waiting period is long enough? Tell us in the comments section.

Senate Bill 5614 cites "poverty, juvenile delinquency, and lower scholastic achievement among children of our state" caused by divorce and argues: "Even a modest reduction of divorce in our state could be beneficial to children."

As the Associated Press reports, the measure would also require couples to read a court-issued handbook that contains information on reconciliation.

Washington state's divorce rate was 4.2 per 1,000 residents in 2010, the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national rate was 6.8 per 1,000 that same year—the lowest figure in at least a decade.

Divorce waiting periods vary by state, with only three requiring a wait or one year or longer, according to the AP.

Mike Tiano February 15, 2013 at 11:23 PM
Ditto to what Brianna says above. Why does government continue to meddle in people's private lives? Making unhappy couples read a manual is as invasive and unnecessary as the forced ultrasounds some states are forcing on women who have chosen to get an abortion. And before anyone throws flames I'm not comparing divorce to abortion--the commonality is government making decisions for responsibile adults, who in this case have to have been pretty stupid in the first place if a handbook gives them.
Jeanne Gustafson February 15, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Glad you clarified, Mike. I could envision the responses to the first half of your post.
Mike Tiano February 15, 2013 at 11:26 PM
...if a handbook gives them information they didn't already know. People want to get on with their lives, and the forced extended waiting period might even backfire. KEEP GOVERNMENT OUT OF OUR PRIVATE LIVES.
Cosmo February 16, 2013 at 12:30 AM
So someone in an abusive situation who finally gets the courage to divorce their spouse would now have to wait an extra 9 months for it to be final? That's ridiculous. I'm disappointed in our state.
Mike Tiano February 16, 2013 at 04:03 AM
But Cosmo, with a government written handbook how can those couples go wrong? My guess is that it would say turn to Jesus because that solves all problems in their eyes.
Kathleen February 16, 2013 at 10:01 AM
Perhaps there should be support to prevent divorce to begin with, such as much better mental health services to cover general therapy, family therapy and addiction treatments. Many divorces are not just because people "grow apart" but because there are real problems in the home, and divorce does not solve them. Ten years into my 20 year marriage my husband began drinking to the point of alcoholism with a couple DWI's.Yes,life was rough for our 2 children while he spiraled down but if you ask my kids now in their 30's they far remember the decade after our divorce where we lived in complete poverty, even more stress and their grades plummeted. They went from having 1 and a half parents to a half there parent who was working all the time to put food on the table. My kids even sought therapy in their 20's as each was deeply affected by the divorce. I am very happy to be divorced from my ex husband but the price was too high for my children.
Kirkland Tony February 16, 2013 at 02:36 PM
The unintended consequences on the left are amusing. Patch right now has a bunch of self-congratulators for this area being low religion, and this debate about divorce. I'm for freedom of religion, of gender orientation and of marriage/divorce (and yes, I voted to enable gay marriage), but sometimes the only way you justify the results is to twist the data. The studies that determined religiousness by weekly attendance at service vs not going at all found that the religious divorce rate is about half the agnostic. The studies that blur that don't ask about attendance; they ask about self-identification. It may be solely due to being an active member of a community. Perhaps the religion aspect is irrelevant. But it looks like the support Kathleen wants does exist... and the tax payers aren't even having to foot the bill.
Connie Carson February 16, 2013 at 03:20 PM
Perhaps a one year waiting period to marry might work better?
Becky Leonard February 16, 2013 at 03:43 PM
What about those of us already responsible enough to have waited? I've been separated for a few years. It didn't make sense financially for us to file. While neither of us are well off, I could definitely manage on what I made. He could not have afforded child support. So I'd rather that money stay in his pocket so things were good when he had our daughter. In that time his financial situation has improved and now we're preparing to file our divorce. We separated everything, we've supported ourselves, we've arranged a schedule with our daughter that works great for all of us. We will not reconcile. We've both moved on and are in new relationships that are much better for both of us. But it seems unfair to punish us after we've done everything the right way - no fighting, no courts, etc. - by making us wait another whole year to finally put this behind us and move on.
dan February 16, 2013 at 05:25 PM
A year is a lifetime, why not just outlaw divorce. But you better do it before WA state takes all the guns away. You cannot legislate happiness, commitment, morality or any other important intrinsic God faring way of life. It should be 90 days, provided the couple has met with a "licensed mediator" and he writes a report that for the betterment of the family, the divorce should proceed. Oh and don't forget to tax divorce, something like $100,000 and if a couple can't afford it, the state should pay it. No big deal there, local, state and federal governments have known how to rob Peter to pay Paul for a very long time. <sigh>
Patty Denny February 16, 2013 at 06:00 PM
The Government needs to stay out of the people's lives.
Joe M February 16, 2013 at 06:13 PM
This bill is nothing more than self-righteous do-gooders reaching for their own salvation by imposing misery on others.
JuneGloom February 16, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Yes- Every family is individual and should be able to plan for itself.
LifeInPierceCounty February 16, 2013 at 07:41 PM
Did these meddlers who are disguising themselves as family-values do-gooders get elected by their constituents for the purpose restricting their ability (and right) to swiftly divorce their spouses? I highly doubt it. They need to butt out of this issue, and ASAP.
Al February 16, 2013 at 08:07 PM
90 days is long enough
dan February 16, 2013 at 08:49 PM
Why don't you outlaw porn, adultery, pre-marital sex? That's what's ruining families.
Tom Fitzpatrick February 16, 2013 at 09:16 PM
This bill may go somewhere in the Senate, thanks again to Rodney Tom's defection. Supposedly he's just doing this because he wants to make the state more "fiscally responsible", but if he's not supporting it, he's certainly enabling the GOPers who just have to let their freak flags fly. Yet another jolt to the myth of the moderate Republican (I used to know several in the Legislature; they're extinct); so much for the "rebranding" of the GOP.
Julie Bishop February 16, 2013 at 10:02 PM
AMEN! We live in a nanny state, because apparently our elected officials don't think we're smart enough to make our own decisions.
sudee February 16, 2013 at 10:36 PM
Isn't Mike Carrell on this committee? I know he's divorced and remarried -- damn hypocrisy right there.
LifeInPierceCounty February 16, 2013 at 11:17 PM
It's sponsored by an equal mix of R's and D's. What gives with that?
Vicki Tomlinson February 16, 2013 at 11:20 PM
Divorce is brutal to everyone involved. affordable counseling should be required before anyone can file. Our children have lost so much stability in their lives. There is too much drug abuse and poverty as a result.
Tom Fitzpatrick February 16, 2013 at 11:52 PM
"LifeinPierceCounty", according to the legislature's website it's 7 R's, 2 D's. At least one of the D's is part of last year's "gang of four" precursor to this year's coup by Tom.
William Couser MD February 17, 2013 at 12:17 AM
There is no possible way to do a study that isolates the effects of divorce alone from many other important factors as a cause of ""poverty, juvenile delinquency, and lower scholastic achievement". What about the effects of marital stress at home, parental education, availability of extended family, etc etc. This is just cherry picking data to make it support a preconceived idea. It insults the intelligence of anyone who knows anything about social science and deceives those people who do not. What a dishonest way to support legislation that would impact peoples lives. Bill
LifeInPierceCounty February 17, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Ooops. You are far more correct than I. I's 7 R's and 3 D's. Benton - R Brown - R Carrell - R Delvin - R Hewitt - R Padden - R Dammeier - R Hargrove - D Harper - D Shin - D
employee February 17, 2013 at 02:51 AM
Its amazing to me that Republicans go on and on about how terrible government is, but try to pass legislation like this turd blossom. I hear every day from conservatives that just hate the fact that the government is "taking away thier freedom" and how they are going to "take it back". Is this how they get it back?
Donna Salins February 17, 2013 at 06:37 PM
I couldn't agree with you more, Connie! A one year waiting period to get married is a super idea! Maybe when you purchase your marriage license, you could be educated and offered six or so marriage counseling sessions, too; but I haven't thought through the challenges regarding that entirely. It would be great if our legislators thought more like you. Wish we could stop addressing the symptoms = divorce and, rather than that, address the challenges, people don't often consider, prior to tying the knot. My current fiancee and myself were each married for approximately 30 years and feel it would have been beneficial to have had a one year waiting period with pre-marital counseling options offered. It may have saved all of our children and ourselves a lot of heartache.
Donna Salins February 17, 2013 at 06:41 PM
To clarify, I meant educated on options available to receive marriage counseling. So much money is spent on counseling after problems arise, rather than getting tools to handle common problems, encountered in marriage, ahead of time.
john_v_phipps February 18, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Interesting that 8 of the 10 sponsors of this bill are Republicans. The same party that often denounces the "left wing nanny state". I say maybe we need a one year waiting period between a bill's proposal and the legislative vote on that bill. And a requirement that a manual containing the proposed bill must be delivered to every registered voter within 90 days of the proposal. That way we, the voters, could know what our legislators are attempting to do to us.
Joseph March 02, 2013 at 01:17 AM
Brilliant. Now the government knows better on when people are ready for divorce. How about the government gets the hell out of my way. You cannot measure a relationship's ability to recover based upon some arbitrary time-line set in the sand.
Joseph March 02, 2013 at 01:19 AM
Definitely not. I would not call myself a Repubichairlican but definitely a conservative and this idea is the dumbest thing on the planet. These people are not conservatives. They are lost politically. And they have a bunch of dumb ideas. It's as if they have nothing but time to waste.

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