New Divorce Rules Debated

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January 13, 2005
In 2005 for almost every couple that said "I do" to marriage, there was another couple saying "we quit" and opting for divorce. Some Georgia lawmakers think this should change. News 12 has more on a bill that would change the rules for splitting up.

Some Georgia lawmakers want couples to give their marriage more time, but Denise Wingate says her divorce couldn't have happened soon enough.

"The longer you wait, sometimes it adds fuel to the fire," Wingage said.

Representative Barry Fleming says the current thirty-day waiting period in Georgia is too short, especially if kids are involved.

"The parents who are normally looking out for the children become so taken over by their own disputes, the children are also left to suffer," Fleming said.

He supports a bill that would require an estranged couple to wait roughly four months. The bill could make getting married much easier than getting divorced in Georgia. The license becomes official as soon as the officiant signs it.

"There's no waiting period in Georgia anymore," Said Judge Isaac Jolles.

Almost sixteen hundred couple got married last year, and close to thirteen hundred got divorced. Marriage counselor John Hill says the extended waiting period could cause problems. But counseling can prevent couples from cutting ties too soon.

"Many times people can put a relationship back together and can reconcile even when difficult circumstances happen," Hill said.

That's why mandatory counseling for most couples is another item on the bill. Counseling wasn't an option in Denise Wingate’s marriage.

"He cheated, and when you cheat that's it, it's over. There are no second chances, and counseling won't rectify that," Wingate said.

The original bill began in the senate last year but never passed. Lawmakers added the counseling requirement this year. The bill could be debated on the house floor in the next few weeks.