Legislators Reevaluate the Waiting Period to Get a Divorce

Legislators Reevaluate the Waiting Period to Get a Divorce

Around the United States, it is up to each individual state to determine how their marriage and divorce proceedings will be implemented. This can provide a situation where one state is considered to be strict while another is lenient on an issue, and potentially a situation where couples “jurisdiction-hop” so that they can get married and reside in a state that is more friendly to the needs of the couple.

What is the “Waiting Period”?

One of the trends in divorce law that states are starting to follow is the modification of “wait periods” that couples must follow before a divorce may be permitted. Most states, including South Carolina, require that the couple is separated for at least a year. This means that in South Carolina, for example, a couple must have filed for separation and lived apart, without any attempts for reconciliation for a period of one year. The time period is crucial because in the case where the couple spends eight months living apart and then decides to reconcile over a course of a weekend, most courts would determine that the couple if they do not reconcile, would have to begin the clock again and stay apart for a whole month.

House Bill 3169

South Carolina is one of several states that are debating a bill that would limit the year waiting period down to 150 days, or six months. The purpose behind this legislation, that has been in circulation through the Senate and House since early 2013 and has been modified over the last few of years, is to limit the amount of unnecessary time that a couple must spend together when they are sure of their decision to divorce. For many who decide to get a divorce, they are very certain of their decision to divorce and a yearlong wait period could add additional aggression, frustration, resentment, and could have harmful effects on the children who may be stuck in the middle of the divorce process.

Purpose Behind the Waiting Period

Originally states put into place the waiting period as a way to hinder the concept that a quick divorce was the answer to any marital spat that presented itself. Marriage, in the eyes of the United States, is fundamental and divorce should only be used as a last resort. By making the waiting period a year, couples would have time to really consider their decision to divorce, and this would discourage couples that were jumping into marriage to consider the legal, emotional and financial hardships that come with a divorce.

Exceptions to the Waiting Period Requirement 

It is important to note that wait periods are only required for “no-fault” divorce grounds, where the couple just cannot resolve their differences. Those who live in South Carolina who file for divorce under the grounds of adultery, desertion, physical abuse, or habitual drunkenness may actually get a divorce within 90 days, with the purpose of ensuring that those involved in these harmful situations are able to separate themselves and their children from this type of behavior, as well as limiting any later revenge that could take place against them as a result of discovering their spouse has initiated divorce proceedings for these actions.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys Can Help

An artificial waiting period, though an impediment to a speedy divorce, has its place in family law. Before making an important decision, it is critical to have time and perspective rather than base your decision to divorce on a knee-jerk reaction. An experienced family law attorney at Klok Law Firm LLC can help guide you through the divorce process and the implications of divorce for you and your family. Contact the attorneys at Klok Law Firm LLC today for a free and confidential consultation.