As any Colorado divorce and family law attorney can tell you, divorce rates in the U.S. fluctuate, and often with the economy, with couples tending to stay together more when the economy is bad, and divorce more readily when the economy is strong, but have generally hovered around fifty percent for a pretty long time. Few people would consider this an ideal statistic, but now the Institute for American Values wants to enforce a one-year waiting period for couples seeking divorce. The thought is that enforcing such a period would encourage couples to stick it out through the difficult times, and stay together, thus reducing the rate of divorce.
The problem with this, as with many other well-intentioned but morality-based law suggestions, is that it only considers the potential good, rather than the potential ills, of such a law. What happens to those couples whose love has turned to hate?
We’ve already seen tragic cases in the news recently of couples whose divorce turned deadly—and that was without the enforcement of a waiting period.
Such legislation, when viewed in this light, could actually be seen as somewhat irresponsible. Is it not better for a couple facing the dissolution of their marriage to seek counseling and legal representation in the form of mediation, trial separation, or even divorce attorneys, who can help to ensure that such proceedings remain safe and fair all around?
Is it not better to educate people about rushing into marriage in the first place, rather than to force a bad marriage to stay together? After all, from a values-based standpoint, which is really worse: dissolving a bad marriage, or entering into a marriage with your eyes wide shut and rushing blind into a situation that is only going to lead to pain and heartache down the road?