Legislation may be on the horizon to make the already difficult decision to divorce even more difficult. If adopted, the Second Chances Act would require a one-year waiting period and educational courses focusing on reconciliation prior to granting a petition for divorce.
The act was investigated and proposed to policy makers by William J. Doherty, a professor of family and social science at the University of Minnesota, and Leah Ward Sears, a former chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court. The investigation notes divorce is necessary at times, but stresses the importance of reconciliation if feasible.
Divorce And Reconciliation
The report is founded on research stating that many divorces are the product of marriages with low levels of conflict and average happiness. In fact, the research concludes that many couples expressed an interest in reconciliation.
Proponents of the act point to continued concern around the effects of divorce on children. The Board of Family Medicine recently called on physicians to expand their view of divorce and provide care that extends into long-term issues, including poor health. The legislative report also speculated the children most likely harmed by divorce were those with the greatest chance of reconciliation. It has been well-established in social science research that the children who suffer the most are those who are exposed to persistent and constant conflict.
When Divorce Is The Best Option
Even with the above considerations, there are many situations where divorce remains the best option. When issues involving finances, religion, substance abuse and other foundational concerns cannot be resolved, experts from Boston University agree that divorce may "be the only way to salvage the peace, self-respect, productivity, optimism and future of those involved" — including children.
Broader Effect Of Proposed Legislation
This proposal builds on the belief that marriage is not merely a contract between two individuals, but an arrangement that affects a broader segment of society. This reasoning is used to support state involvement and implementation of the Second Chances Act.
Although it is beneficial to avoid unnecessary divorce, it is important to ensure that the ability to end a marriage remains accessible. For some couples, divorce continues to provide the most viable option. If you are considering a divorce, it is important to discuss your legal options and remedies with a knowledgeable divorce attorney.