Michigan Lawmakers Throw Up More Barriers to Marriage and Divorce

In the State of Michigan there are a few proposed laws making the rounds in the legislature which would lengthen the waiting periods to get married, require a pre-marital education class for some, and mandate completion of lengthy questionnaires and counseling before being able to divorce. According to some, this is Michigan’s way to combat the high rate of divorce in America. Others claim it’s more big government controlling citizens’ lives and wasting taxpayer money in the process.

Right now there’s a 3-day waiting period between the time when a couple applies for a marriage license and the time they can actually marry. The proposed law would lengthen that waiting time to 28 days. It’s a sort of a cooling off period similar to when you buy guns in some states. Lawmakers seem to be worried about the possible deadly results of getting married too quickly. When a couple cannot wait the additional three weeks to join in marital bliss, a pre-marital education course can satisfy the extra time requirement.

If you plan to divorce, a proposed new law would demand some data from you and also require attendance at a ‘divorce effects’ education class if you have minor children. The raw data collected via the divorce questionnaire should provide some insights to the current state of families and households during recovery from the great recession. Without question the divorce effects education class could help parents better understand and cope with children suffering from the divorce. Any type of parent counseling that focuses on the needs of the children is worth the time and effort. Hopefully the proposed participants will take it seriously.

We think it’s likely that many people will agree with the spirit of the proposed legislation but it’s the regulatory nature of them that gives us pause. Is this just more government interference or is it a legitimate way to slow the rate of divorce?


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