February 19, 2013
Leave divorce wait time alone
One bill winding its way through the Legislature would increase the divorce waiting time from 90 days to one year after filing with the courts. The thought that a longer wait time would help a marriage is foolish.
Divorce is, to say the least, unpleasant. Even when there are no children involved, the hurt feelings, financial untangling and emotional stress can be devastating. When there are children involved, the household animosity should not be prolonged.
Sen. Don Benton’s bill is aimed at reducing the number of divorces. But Benton’s idea, to increase the waiting time, is misguided. Benton’s bill seems to assume that adults get divorces on the spur of the moment, that if they would just stop and think things through for a bit longer, they’d stay together.
Anyone who’s gone through a divorce can explain why that’s not true. The decision usually begins long before the actual court filing. That 90 days is just the tail-end of the marriage split.
Delaying the decision for an extra nine months might also be costly, as couples work with attorneys and mediators — not to mention the $290 court fee. Extending the waiting period prolongs a time of emotional and financial turbulence, and makes it more difficult to allow people to get on with their lives.
If the state is truly interested in reducing divorce rates, they should look at the front end of marriage. In King County, a couple can file for a marriage license and be married three days later. The license is good for up to 60 days. It costs a mere $64.
Extending the waiting time for a marriage license makes a lot more sense. A couple in love can certainly wait 30, 60 or 90 days after a license is purchased to make a lifetime commitment.
If anything, make a marriage contract more difficult — on the notion that a stronger relationship might have a better chance of avoiding divorce altogether.
Winter sports are wrapping up, and Issaquah, once again, has athletes who brought home titles. Congratulations to Issaquah’s 200-yard freestyle relay swim team, Liberty state champion swimmer Raymond Ha and Skyline state champion diver Max Levy.