(KCPW News) One lawmaker says he wants Utah residents to be more aware of what their options are if they decide to get a divorce. Republican Representative Jim Nielson is the sponsor of House Bill 290, which requires married couples with a minor child to take a divorce education class before they can file for divorce. He says under current law, the class is still required, but can be taken after divorce papers have been filed.
“It’s to help them see what the positive and negative outcomes of divorce can be. It’s to help us be informed. It’s an informed consent kind of requirement,” he says. “If the course is being taken so late in the game that the respondent typically says ‘I wish I’d known this earlier,’ it’s not very useful.”
Nielson’s bill also put more restrictions on how soon couples could file for divorce.
Currently, the 90-day waiting period can be waived if the class is taken, but his legislation would do away with that provision.
“As a state that values families and children and marriage and we believe the public has a stake in those institutions, that a waiting period is healthy and will ultimately reduce divorce rates,” says Nielson.
The free divorce education class could be taken in person, through a video or online. The bill passed out of the Health and Human Services Committee on a 5-to-3 vote Wednesday, and now goes to the House floor.
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