Should There Be A Mandatory “Cooling Off Period” Before Divorce?


Oct 24, 2011

Do you think couples should be forced into a “cooling off” period before divorcing? And how would you feel about getting an official letter from your spouse warning you that divorce is imminent?

The “Second Chances” Acthas been co-authored by William J. Doherty, a family social science professor at the University of Minnesota, and retired Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears, in an effort to eliminate “unecessary” divorces.

“Most of today’s divorces are over “what we call ‘soft’ reasons” – the average divorce occurs in a marriage that was relatively happy, with low levels of conflict, just two years earlier,” said Mr. Doherty. ‘Children fare worse in these kinds of divorces, he said, because their families seem stable and content, and then ‘the bottom falls out’ of their world.”

The Second Chances Act could be waived in special circumstances like adultery, abuse and addiction, but the purpose is to make divorce less of a knee-jerk reaction and more of a last resort. The act would also require parents of young children to attend “divorce education” classes. It hasn’t fully been introduced in any state, but its cause is gaining momentum.

I honestly don’t think this is such a bad idea, as long as they do provide the exceptions above for people in abusive situations. Divorce shouldn’t be undertaken just because you’ve grown apart or grown bored with each other – especially if you have children together. They deserve every chance they can get at an intact family. Waiting a bit and getting counseling could be good for everyone involved. At least you can say you really tried, even if it doesn’t end up working out.

What do you think? Is this a good idea, or is it too intrusive?