Divorce Legislation

While folks in the Peach State debate over gay marriages, a new bill passed by the Georgia Senate may make it emotionally harder for couples there to divorce.

The new bill would extend the waiting period in no-fault divorce cases from the current 30 days, to 180 days for couples with kids.

When Ann Craft's 20-year marriage ended two years ago, her son, who was away at college, understood why it happened. Ann says her eight-year-old daughter was another story.

"She didn't understand that one day Daddy was not coming home and she would ask questions, and truthfully, I didn't have the answers," says Ann.

In the midst of a 50 percent divorce rate nationwide, the Georgia Senate has passed the "children of divorce protection act", which would make couples with children filing a no-fault divorce wait 180 days and possibly reconcile before it could go through.

Attorneys at Silvis, Ambrose and Lindquist in Thomasville won't even handle divorce cases. They say, sometimes all a couple needs is a little bit more time to realize they need to stay together, and they say this bill will give many couples a second chance.

"Invariably, children would say they want their parents to stay together, even if they're not totally happy," says Silvis.

People who oppose the bill say it could make a bad situation worse for children, but it may also offer more time for closure.

"I don't think just putting 180 days limit is going to save an already broken marriage, but maybe it'll give somebody a chance to get into some healing before it's final."

The bill now heads to the House of Representatives for approval. If it is passed, divorcing parents must also attend a four-hour seminar focusing on the effects of divorce on children.