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Children may impact the timetable in a divorce proceeding

Readers that know someone or have gone through a divorce themselves know that couples may sometimes be better off going their own ways when a marriage is no longer working. To some extent, lawmakers may also share that opinion, as no-fault divorce is now available in all 50 states.

Yet should minor children change the ease with which couples can file for divorce? In many jurisdictions, a spouse is not required to provide highly fact-specific details in support of the filing. In Massachusetts, a filer needs only cite an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage to initiate a no-fault divorce; consent from the other spouse is not required. 

Critics of no-fault divorce, however, fear that such a speedy option might not be advisable in marriages with children. In fact, lawmakers in several states have already proposed modifications to their no-fault divorce laws. In Utah, counseling is made available to divorcing couples who have minor children, as well as mandatory classes about positive co-parenting skills and the divorce process.

A proposal from a lawmaker in Kansas would remove incompatibility from the state’s list of permissible grounds for a no-fault divorce, essentially requiring more specific details in support of a divorce filing. Even in Massachusetts, a hearing in a no-fault divorce proceeding normally occurs no sooner than six months after the initial filing.

One thing is clear: When minor children are involved, extra issues will arise in the divorce proceeding. When negotiating matters of child custody, child or spousal support and visitation, an attorney can provide invaluable advocacy. 

Source: Newsmax, “States Moving to Make Divorce Tougher to Get,” Jennifer G. Hickey, May 2, 2014

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