The process for getting a divorce in Florida is currently fairly short and simple. In Florida, a couple can even apply for a divorce online. However, other states do not think that it should be that simple and legislation is being introduced to extend the waiting period for a divorce in another southern state.
That state currently has a one-year waiting period from the date of separation until a divorce can be granted. When one compares this to the 20-day minimum in Florida, it seems almost incomprehensible. Oddly enough, it is, in fact, this state that wants to extend the waiting period even further.
Senate Bill 518, otherwise known as the Healthy Marriage Act, was introduced to the North Carolina Senate on March 28. The legislation would extend the current one-year waiting period to a two-year waiting period. The bill would also require couples seeking a divorce to attend conflict resolution counseling and, if they have children, they would also have to attend parental counseling. Additionally, the new legislation would end the mandatory separation and allow for continued cohabitation. It is not clear from the information available whether the continued cohabitation would become mandatory.
The proponents of the bill claim that the legislation is an effort to decrease the divorce rate in North Carolina, which is currently at 3.8 per 1000 marriages. The national rate is slightly lower, but by a very small percentage. Neighboring South Carolina is lower than the national average at 3.0 per 1000 marriages.
The bill has passed its first reading and is now set to go before the Senate´s Committee on Rules & Operations. While it is not known at this time whether the bill will pass, it may cause other states to consider extending waiting periods in hopes of decreasing their divorce rates. Thankfully, for the time being, a Florida divorce, with the assistance a family law attorney, is still a fairly simple process.