Insanity in waiting period

Apr. 07, 2013 @ 04:29 AM

In some things, a waiting period is justified.

Employment subject to a background check or a gun purchase subject to a background check are two examples of where a waiting period works.

A bill floating through the North Carolina General Assembly would mandate a two-year waiting period before a couple can be legally divorced.

Additionally, the bill requires a couple entering into a divorce to — rather jointly or individually — complete courses on communication skills and conflict resolution.

We all can agree on the value of a loving marriage, but we do realize there are times that the most loving marriage can fall apart.

To require two individuals who have lost that love to remain married for two years thereafter is not in their best interests. Nor does keeping mommy and daddy together for two years of misery benefit their children.

The primary sponsor of the bill, Sen. Austin Allran, R-Catawba, has yet to find the money for pre-divorce counseling, which is an indication that the judicial system will be burdened with yet another unfunded mandate. Considering that the judicial system is already one of the most poorly financed branches of state government, tossing in another mandate with funds makes the situation worse.

If there is any requirement for marital counseling, a case can be made that should occur before the marriage begins, not after it has failed.

We require all kinds of tests and certifications before we are allowed to do many things such as drive a car, ride a motorcycle, and practice law or medicine.

Not that we advocate it, but it would seem much simpler to instruct the Register of Deeds that a marriage license cannot be issued without proof of completion of the required courses. That prospect, however, does not carry our favor either.

Consider the following situation:

Jack and Jill have been sweethearts since high school and they decide to elope. They obtain their marriage license in Rutherford County, wait the requisite 24 hours, then go to Gaffney, S.C. to get married. The next week, after the marriage glow has worn its course, they suddenly ask themselves: "What in the world have we done?"

Under Allran's bill, we would force those two kids to stay married for two years — for what purpose?

To make a point to them that they've ruined their lives? Or possibly to penalize them for making a hasty decision?

Regardless, this proposal seems backwards at best and borderline insane at worst.

After all, hasn't the General Assembly meddled with the overall scope of marriage enough already?

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board


The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark