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Petitioning Utah State Legislature

Yellow Light Before Divorce


Divorce is a messy process with far reaching implications. Although I believe that divorce should remain a personal decision, I think couples should be armed with knowledge about the impact getting a divorce may have on them financially, emotionally, and physically. If armed with this information, some couples might choose not to get a divorce as they measure the impact it will have on themselves and their children. To facilitate this, I believe that couples should be required to fill out a form before they file for divorce that would outline how they would deal with financial and custodial issues. This requirement would effectively put a yellow light on divorces causing those involved to pause and take inventory before they commit to dissolving their marriages.

Some divorces are inevitable, but about fifty percent of divorces come from low stress marriages with couples who have reported being fairly happy. These marriages are low in conflict, low in violence, and these couples generally didn’t expect to find themselves getting a divorce (Amato & Hohmann-Marriott 2007;Amato&Booth,2007). The fact of the matter is that almost 75% of divorces occurred to individuals who were happily married 5 years earlier (Waite et al., 2002) Studies have shown that divorces like these lead to decreased adult happiness and are worse for kids (Amato & Hohmann-Marriott, 2007; Amato & Booth, 2007). Many people believe that divorce will make them happier because it will allow them the freedom to find a better relationship. For some people this may be true. However studies have shown that happily married adults who divorced were no happier 5 years later than those who remained married. This was true even if they remarried. Additionally, unhappily married adults who stayed married were not more depressed than those who divorced five years later. A lot of couples that choose to get divorced are simply hitting a rough spot that if they chose to they could most likely work through and find happiness on the other side. In fact 60 percent of unhappily married individuals who avoided divorce reported that they were quite happy five years later. Another 26% were somewhat happier (Dr. Linda J. Waite et al.).

This proposal may prevent some unnecessary divorces and help children to grow up in a more stable environment by stopping people from making rash and uneducated decisions. If individuals still choice to move forward with divorce proceedings, they will be more prepared to make educated decisions about how to least disrupt their lives and the lives of their children.

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