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Some states introduce legislation to prevent divorce

Divorce is an emotionally difficult time for Mississippi couples who likely once believed they would spend the rest of their lives together. For those who have children, the divorce process could be more difficult as the parents attempt to agree on custody and support arrangements. Additionally, some states across the country are attempting to add more restrictions in an attempt to prevent the end of a marriage. Opponents of these attempts claim they could be detrimental.

Early in the country’s history, a woman had an exceedingly difficult time gaining a divorce. In many cases, a couple would have to prove to a court that someone was at-fault due to infidelity, for example, thereby potentially leaving an abused woman unable to divorce her abusive husband. Over the years, however, no-fault divorces were introduced, and people were allowed to divorce without proving that someone was necessarily at fault.

Although some studies indicate that the implementation of no-fault divorce has led to a decrease in domestic abuse, incidences of husbands murdering their wives and wives who commit suicide, some states are attempting to enact laws that would once again make obtaining divorce more difficult. For example, couples may have to wait for a longer period of time or undergo counseling. Some states want to make it impossible for couples with minor children to obtain a no-fault divorce.

Other states, such as Mississippi, have attempted to create a type of marriage license, called a covenant license, that couples would choose at the beginning of their marriage that would make divorce more difficult. However, of the states where covenant licenses are currently available, only 1 percent -- or fewer -- of couples have chosen that option. Opponents to these efforts worry that they are simply a new complication in an already complicated process. They argue that, rather than keeping families intact, a more difficult divorce could actually escalate a couple’s problems.

For many families, the decision to divorce is the best one for their particular circumstances. However, family laws often vary from state to state. They are sometimes complex and confusing for those who are unfamiliar with them. Fortunately, there is help available for people in Mississippi who have decided that divorce is the best option for them. While the decision to divorce can be emotionally difficult, the process can be eased by seeking knowledgeable assistance to navigate through state requirements.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "The battle against divorce", Scott Keyes, May 18, 2014

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