Divorce Prevention Plans

The “Second Chances Act” is a new legislation model being promoted by retired Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears and William J. Doherty, a family social science professor at the University of Minnesota. Readers of this blog may remember an article we featured a few weeks ago about this new collaborative effort labeled Discernment Counseling. The goal is to slow down the rate of divorce in the US by imposing strict statutory requirements on couples seeking to divorce which includes mandatory counseling, cooling off periods, and divorce warning letters.

The “target couples” are those who are ambivalent about divorce, open to reconciliation or considering divorce for “soft reasons,” such as growing apart or losing their ability to communicate. According to Judge Sears, the Second Chances Act is not designed to end divorce or no-fault divorce, but instead to force a thoughtful and mandatory discussion about saving the marriage for the sake of the family. Both Sears and Doherty believe that the American public “wants more speed bumps on the road to divorce,” especially if minor children are in the home.

There has been proposed legislation with similar goals in the past. Here’s a website that provides links to many resources on the subject. Do you think these types of laws should be passed? Or is it simply more government interference in citizens’ lives?


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