Most states in the U.S., including California, have no-fault divorce laws that allow a divorce to be granted by a court without showing that either party is at fault. These laws have been in place for decades, but recently, there has been a push to enact a bill known as the Parental Divorce Reduction Act.
The Act would eliminate no-fault divorce if the couple has minor children. In that case, the Act would require that both parties go through counseling and be separated for at least eight months before the divorce is granted.
Proponents of the bill assert that divorce always has a negative impact on children. They cite research suggesting that children from divorced families are more likely to be depressed, use drugs, have problems with the law and underperform in school than children from two-parent families. These advocates believe that many couples with children see divorce as an easy out to marriage problems that are only temporary.
Opponents believe that the Parental Divorce Reduction Act will add unnecessary complications to an already lengthy and difficult process, and they say that many couples are able to divorce amicably without emotionally harming their children. They also believe that there are many cases, such as marriages with a history of domestic violence, that require a more swift resolution for the safety of all involved.
While marriage rates in the U.S. and the state of California are declining, the possibility of a high asset divorce is still a harsh reality. If parents with children are facing the end of a marriage, they may feel overwhelmed by many emotions involved. Divorcing parents will need to come to an agreement on child support and custody arrangements as well as dividing their assets, and an experienced family law attorney may help expedite this process.
Source: The New York Times, “When Divorce Is a Family Affair,” Vicki Larson and Beverly Willett, Feb. 13, 2013