Mandatory Counseling before Divorce?

I’ve been reading about a couple of different porposals from different states that want to require couple’s to undergo a year’s worth of marriage counseling and be seperated for two years before a divorce can be granted. Exemptions would be if one spouse can prove adultery, abuse, felony conviction, or abandonment.

Does anyone think that this would lower the divorce rate? Would this make people afraid to get married? Would this make people really think about their decision to get married before they go through with it?

I, personally don’t think the government should have this kind of authority. Why should I be forced to go to counseling to try to save a marriage I don’t want to be in, regardless of my reasons for wanting a divorce? I think I should be able to get married and divorced as many times as I want to and the government shouldn’t be able to have any say in the matter.

Here in Scotland if you want a divorce but don’t want to go to court, you have to be separated for two years if both spouses agree or five years (IIRC) if only one spouse wants the divorce. To my knowledge no mandatory counselling is involved. Mr Nim was married once before marrying me. That marriage lasted eight years and the divorce was mutually desirable; they were just completely indifferent towards one another. Both were in their late 20’s when they separated, and they were childless. Mr Nim and I met and became involved shortly after he and his ex officially separated. The mandatory two year waiting period was a little aggravating for me (as I’m sure it was for the both of them, as well), but it was worth it to have an amicable divorce which didn’t need to go through the courts.

Personally I don’t like the idea of mandatory counselling – no doubt in some cases it would help, but I think the spouses should be responsible for getting counselling if they want it. In Mr Nim’s case, no amount of counselling could have made him want to stay with a woman whom he didn’t love and who didn’t love him. What would be the point? And particularly in cases such as his where there are no children involved, I don’t see any reason why a clean break shouldn’t be made if both spouses want it. (However, I think that in cases where children are involved, it would be better if the couple could try to work out their differences. But I’m not sure that should be legislated.)

I’ve heard that some people are arguing that the emphasis should be placed on making it more difficult to get married in the first place, presumably to discourage couples who haven’t properly thought it through. I don’t have any cites for this, though.

This counseling would need to be before the fact, to help prevent a bad marriage from the start. Otherwise, it sounds like a stupid attempt to outlaw divorce and force marriage on people. It also assumes blame on the couple and not their local culture or religious society that may have encouraged and approved their failure.

Just so folks know about both threads… Here is a link to Wring’s thread on the same topic entitiled: Colorado’s proposed ‘Dr. Laura Bill’