NC legislators propose more rigorous divorce regulations

cjarvis@newsobserver.comMarch 29, 2013 

A pair of Republican lawmakers want to make it harder to get a divorce in North Carolina by making estranged couples wait longer and go to counseling.

The Healthy Marriage Act would extend to two years the current one-year waiting period in order for a divorce to be finalized. During that time, the couple would have to complete courses on improving their communications skills and conflict resolution.

If the couple has children, they would have to take at least a four-hour class on the impact of divorce on children.

Veteran Sen. Austin Allran of Hickory is the primary sponsor. Second term Sen. Warren Daniel of Morganton has signed on to Senate Bill 518.

Separated couples could resume living together during the two-year waiting period, under the bill. Either the husband or the wife would have to have lived in North Carolina for six months before filing for divorce.

It would also strike from the current law a provision that says “isolated incidents of sexual intercourse” don’t count against the one-year waiting period. It’s not clear if that means an occasional fling with your estranged partner does count against you under the proposed law.

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