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Is waiting for a divorce a good idea?

When we remember the past, we tend to sand off the harsh edges. Holidays growing up with our family may seem somewhat better in retrospect than when we experienced them the first time. The 1950s seem like an idyllic time, with Leave it to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet painting a picture of a simpler time, where husbands worked, women stayed home and raised children on tree lined streets of homes with white picket fences.

Of course, it was never that simple; there was the Cold War and the threat of the Bomb. There was Polio. There was growing racial unrest. It was not all a portrait drawn by Norman Rockwell. Nonetheless, few couples filed for divorce.

The increase in the divorce rate from that time to our time is significant. Today's rate of almost 50 percent of all marriage ending in a divorce would have been seen as scandalous in those days.

What can be done to lower that rate? Would giving people more time to think about their decision help? One Oklahoma lawmaker thinks so. He has introduced a bill that would add six-month waiting period after filing a divorce.

The idea is to give people time to reconsider and "rethink reconciliation." Will this help? Maybe, but then again, there are thousands of reasons why people decide to divorce. There may not be a "one size" solution.

The bill allows exceptions for issues like adultery and those involving parties convicted of child abuse and domestic violence. However, we worry that in many domestic violence cases there may not be a conviction, and it might mean a woman could be trapped with an abuser for additional time.

Source: The Norman Transcript, "Okla. bill aims to curb divorce rate," Associated Press, January 28, 2014

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