N.C. to Raleigh: Don’t change the divorce laws

Some groups say that the likelihood of a marriage ending in divorce is between 40 percent and 50 percent.

Some North Carolina legislators are debating a bill called the Healthy Marriages Act, that  would require a two-year waiting period for a divorce, instead of the current one year. It also requires that couples get counseling and live together during that period.

North Carolina residents responding to the latest Elon University Poll don’t think much of that. 68.9 percent oppose changing the current law versus 23.4 percent who support the proposed change.

Supporters of the bill believe that North Carolina’s divorce rate is too high and that making it more difficult to get a divorce will lower the rate. But as WRAL points out: “North Carolina’s one-year waiting period is already longer than most other Southeast states. Georgia and Tennessee, for example, require only a few weeks before a divorce is granted, and Florida couples can file online to have their marriages dissolved. Virginia and South Carolina require no more than a year’s wait, and Alabama has no waiting period.”

The poll results suggest that most North Carolinians would just as soon the General Assembly kept its nose out of that tent.

“This is a policy proposal with high opposition even among groups which some people might expect would support it,” Assistant Poll Director Jason Husser said. “Consider white born-again Christian Republicans who are opposed to gay marriage and want more abortion restrictions — they oppose the divorce extension 53 percent to 42 percent.”

It is also opposed by Democrats (75 percent), Independents (69 percent) and Republicans (65 percent).

It is clear that, while people don’t like divorce, they don’t want to prolong the process of it, either.

— John Robinson

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