Colorado's proposed 'Dr. Laura Bill'

As this shows, there is a Colorado Republican proposing a state law requiring that prior to couples being granted a divorce, that they undergo (unfunded by the way) mandatory one year counseling.

(Disclaimer For the record, the fact that it’s a Republican doesn’t really enter into in to it for me - I understand and agree that generalities about party platforms do not necessarily equal particulars about any individual party member)

According to the article, the legislator (Rep. Dave Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs), had proposed House Bill 1342 to force couples to consider the effect divorce could have on their children before they could split up.

Another republican has proposed a comprimise bill to require 6 hours of counseling on ‘the effect the divorce would have on the children’, and the Governor says that he’d support the proposal as long as **churches and non profits provided the counseling for free ** (nice sidestep).

My position.

  1. Yes, divorce has effects, some times serious negative effects on the children involved.

  2. I believe that for the most part, parents are aware of #1 and for those who aren’t 15 years of intensive inpatient therapy won’t convince them that #1 is true.

  3. Yes, the government is already involved (ie, believes that it has a stake in) marriages/divorces etc. but

most importantly
4. The government does not have any business getting even more involved in my personal life than it already is.

any thoughts?


Nope, the header is not refering to you, but to the person proposing this law. I think it would make a lot more sense to require a year of counseling before a couple is granted a marriage license. By the time you’re filing for divorce, you usually know it’s over, and no amount of counseling is going to change that. Put a years waiting period on that and the folks will just have to move to another state.

Of course I would also like it if folks had to become certified to become parents, but I’m no more willing to trust the government to realize what makes up a good parent than I am willing to believe they can somehow determine who is a qualified coulselor/therapist before marriage or before divorce.


Naked political leanings exposed in the following flame.

I am always fascinated by the cognitive dissonance of some Republicans. Is it not the Republicans who preach smaller, less intrusive government? Government with fewer regulations? More “personal responsibility”? And yet…

Yes, I have thoughts.

Oh…you mean about this? :slight_smile:

My thought is that Dr. Laura should be sliced thinly, flame broiled, and served with a side of brussels sprouts. How dare she share MY name and be such an evil, maggoty, barnyard animal of a person. No offense meant to barnyard animals.

There ought to be a law forcing couples to consider if DIVORCE would be better for the children than staying together. There are many cases where that’s the fact. Children pick up more subtle hints from their parents than people realize. Where is the wisdom of giving your child the example of a loveless or otherwise dysfunctional marriage to take with them into adulthood?

I agree with you, this is an outrage. I can’t believe any sane person would suggest it.


I would be for mandatory short term counselling, focusing on the divorce effects on children, and education on how to mitigate these negative effects. Many factors go into a decision to break up, and most parents are willing to sacrifice for their kids, especially as a result of a screw up. To be fully informed about the effects on children can only result in better decisions.

Whoa. Bad idea. What possible purpose would it serve to force divorcing couples to spend six hours thinking about what they’re doing, when they already have to spend literally months thinking about it while waiting for the divorce to be granted and finalized.

There does seem to be this weird tendency among conservative lawmakers to attack disfavored aspects of family and reproductive law with “counseling” requirements. Remember Louisiana’s “covenant marriages” thing a few years back? Not to mention that this Newsweek article talks about efforts to require abortion providers to inform their patients that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer–even though it’s apparently not true, or at least far from proven.

I should point out that according to the article ‘people’ are referring to it as the “Dr. Laura” bill, however, she isn’t really involved with it. She was asked to speak on it’s behalf, but ‘scheduling’ wouldn’t allow.

Also, I make no promise that the person suggesting this law is to be considered “sane”. :smiley:

As for the mandatory counseling focusing on the effects of children, as I’ve stated, I believe that most parents are really quite aware that the divorce will have effects (and potentially negative ones) on their children, that they have taken this into account and decided that, overall, all will be better off for this course of action. For those parents who are unaware of potential negative effects of divorce on their children, I submit that (quoting myself) 15 years of inpatient counseling won’t help.

my state has a mandatory (if there are children involved) ‘orientation’ meeting with the Friend of the Court system , which outlines not only where one can seek help should we desire it, but the structure and rationale for the Friend of the Court system (spoken with tongue in cheek re: Friend of the Court and system). However, the participants are not required to pay for this (which the proposed bill would require).

*Originally posted by wring *
[QUOTEI should point out that according to the article ‘people’ are referring to it as the “Dr. Laura” bill, however, she isn’t really involved with it. She was asked to speak on it’s behalf, but ‘scheduling’ wouldn’t allow.**[/QUOTE]

Yes, I understood that when I posted. And in fact, I feel that I should apologize, because perhaps this wasn’t the right venue for a rage against an idiot. I just felt like throwing it in because the mere mention of her name angers me.

But I stand by the other stuff I said.


Churches and non-profits, eh?

The truth is that divorce does not always cause terrible trauma to kids. Sometimes it is a good thing. Sometimes it is a very bad thing. A lot of the times it fairly neutral. I am not saying it isn’t usually hard and painful for the kids, but a lot of things in life are hard and painful.

For example, it is hard for a child to lose a pet, do we force counseling before a family can get a job? Or realisticly, children are often upset by the arrival of a new sibling. Let’s demand counseling before you can have more kids!

This bill isn’t about kids at all. It is about punishing people for divorce, and I don’t see that as the government’s business.

Just so folks know about both threads… Here is a link to Rachelle’s thread on the same topic entitiled: Mandatory Counseling before Divorce?

Did I miss something?


Wow, that bill sounds wonderful! I love it when the government meddles in my personal relationships!


Did anyone consider the possible effects it has on children when their parents simply stay together “for the kids?” I’m not sure I see the value in putting on a show for the kids when the love is gone and the parents have decided they’d be better off on their own. I realize divorce can be a bad thing for the children too - but that doesn’t automatically mean that staying together is the right thing either.

What about battered wives or emotionally abused spouses? Any coverage for those instances? Or is this yet another politician trying to apply a blanket solution to a very complex issue?

Don’t answer that.

Well, I can see major problems with “you can’t get divorced until you get counselling, which you have to pay for, and if you can’t pay for it, sucks to be you – you can’t get divorced.” Major equal-protection type-problems.

Besides which . . . wouldn’t it make more sense to have compulsory counseling before people get married? I mean, if you could get away with it on either end, which frankly I doubt. And why should I have to get counseling if my spouse is cheating on me/abandoned me/is beating the shit out of me?

Oh, and parenthetically, I, as a Republican, have often noticed the same irony ICARUS points out (though in my mind it’s most obvious in reproductive issues), which is that some (many?) Republicans are all for people making their own decision so long as they make the correct (ie, Republican) decision. If not, some government intervention is apparently okay. This drives me nuts.

I think it would be a good idea to have the parents come together in a non-confrontational setting to discuss how they are going to help the kids through a difficult transition.

However, should the government require it? Lord, no.

Nope, you didn’t miss anything at all. You saw, in its whole shimmering glory, a terrible typo.

Just to chime in on this, I first heard about the proposed legislation on the radio news show this morning. They made no mention of who was backing the bill or what political affiliations were attached to it, but the moment I heard it, I just knew it was the Republicans…

Yeah, the GOP loves to preach how everyone needs to have “personal responsibility” and how government should stay out of people’s lives – yet they have no qualms about passing laws to ramrod their beliefs down everyone’s throats.

As dumb ideas go, this one is really a whopper. Yeah, that’s what we need in this country: one more disincentive to get married. Besides, what would stop the couple from going to the next state over and getting unhitched there? This is why we need more presidential sex scandals: it distracts out legislators and prevents them from further damaging the nation.

What about the effect NOT getting divorced has on the ADULTS?

How do you go about balancing the well-being of 3 people? Drive two crazy so that one can grow up marginally less scarred than before?

I’m moving to Fenrisopia where the government has nothing to do with marriage.

This proposal is asinine. It’s just another example of turning our government into a nanny state.

You beat me to it, Icarus.

AHHHHHHHHHH! I have always heard that it is a terrible reason to, “stay together for the kids.” Am I wrong here???