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Lawmakers Want To Shorten Divorce Wait For Parents In Louisiana

Lawmakers in Louisiana are considering shortening divorce wait times on no-fault divorces for couples who have children under 18. Currently, divorcing couples with children under 18 must be separated for one full year before they can get a divorce. Lawmakers now want to make it so that they only have to wait six months – the same amount of time couples who do not have children under 18 have to wait.

Supporters of shortening the divorce wait-time

Supporters of the bill want the waiting period for all couples to be the same. Supports also believe that the wait period only gives couples more time to bicker and forces them to spend more money on divorce lawyers. Those opposed see this wait period as a chance for the couples to reconcile.

The bill was recommended by the Louisiana State Law Institute, which studies complex legal issues. It is sponsored by Rep. Patrick Jefferson, a Homer Democrat. LSU family law professor Andrea Carroll spoke on behalf of the institute when the bill was proposed and stated that judges and lawyers have not reported seeing more couples reconcile because of the longer wait period. She added that it’s not necessarily impossible, but judges and lawyers say that it is extremely rare.

The Law Institute feels that that divorce laws should be consistent for everyone, and that this change in the law would make less conflict for divorcing parents. They also stated that prolonging conflict between parents can be harmful to their children. The bill would also tweak spousal support laws to make them less complex.

Supporters of longer divorce wait-times

Southern University law professor, Michelle Ghetti, supports the law as it is. She said that she believes that divorce and the lack of a coherent home increases homelessness, drug use, gang membership and suicide in kids and teenagers.  She also stated at the meeting that making divorce easier has not done anything to improve the situation for children.

Rep. Greg Cromer tried to kill the bill but lawmakers on the panel voted 5-3 vote against his motion. The committee then advanced the proposal without objection to the full House for consideration.



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