Time Frames of Divorce

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It’s safe to say we are a nation of clock-watchers. Time, how much or how little of it we have left, is a top concern within work as well as family environments. It can be a huge source of stress when, as a prime example, you’re stuck in rush hour traffic and already late for work. Talk about a double whammy of stress. The same could be said of lengthening the time frame of the divorce process. Here you also have one source of woe strewn on top of another–getting through the turmoil of divorce and having to take one’s sweet time doing so.

New NC Bill May Lengthen Divorce Process

A bill in North Carolina threatens to draw out the divorce time frame to two years, rather than leaving it at an already long one year limit. Also called the Healthy Marriage Act, it seems the bill’s underlying hope is to discourage couples from filing for divorce in light of its grueling, time-consuming process, and help prompt reconciliation of the relationship.

One significant counter argument is the theory that if couples do reconcile, it usually happens within four months. If that is indeed the common case, this bill’s result would ultimately be to delay the inevitable and pile one form of stress on top of another. It could, for example, increase occurrences of domestic violence in cases of protective order trespassing. Talk about making a situation worse than it already is.

It’s as if you’re not only already late for work, but there’s also rush-hour traffic, a pile-up car accident, a cop just pulled you over, and it’s pouring hail. Welcome to the newly proposed North Carolina divorce procedure.

Freedom from Time Restrictions

In a more hospitable world, time would be on our side. We’d be able to speed up processes that are painful or tedious, while prolonging joyful experiences. Unfortunately time passes at objectively the same speed whether we’re going through something difficult or not. We are, thankfully, in control with what we do with that time, at least in most aspects of our lives and ideally in most aspects of our personal lives.

If a bill like the one in North Carolina passes, it’s as if a married couple has further lost control of how they want to spend the time elapsing during their personal trial that is divorce. Being forced to prolong this painful process because a court says it’s better that way seems to me like an acute overreach of government into the personal lives they’re supposed to be protecting.

Regarding the argument that lengthening the divorce process will detour people from wanting to step into it in the first place, it leads these couples into living a life that is, in their own eyes, false. They are in essence letting the court coerce them into being together. Similarly, waiting an extra year might only serve to amplify the problems rather than repair them. The couple has already made the decision to divorce, and that personal decision deserves space and respect.

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