I recently read an article about Denmark changing their divorce law, in order to make it more difficult for people to break up their marriages. In order to obtain a divorce, couples used to be able to fill out the necessary forms online to file for divorce, but now with the change in law, they must wait three months and attend counseling before they are legally able to file. Denmark is hoping to discourage couples from going through with divorce. The goal in decreasing divorce is to prevent people from the financial and emotional costs associated with it. Although this seems like the government is sticking their nose into the private matters of their citizens, from what I read, this new law is heavily supported by the majority of people and politicians.
Do you think it should be more difficult to get a divorce? I remember realizing how easy it was to get divorced once my first husband had filed. We didn’t have a lot of assets and didn’t have children together, so we were able to avoid the lawyers and drama that many other couples experiencing a divorce must deal with. It was still an extremely emotional process, that I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it through, but as far as divorce goes, it was a peaceful one. After filing we went our separate ways while we waited the few months we had to wait for our court date. When that day arrived we simply met with a judge, both agreed to divorce each other and then were granted the divorce, never to see each other again.
My second divorce was a similar experience. I filed by printing off the paperwork from my computer, filing it out, and mailing it to the court system. Once again, with no children or problems dividing up our belongings, we skipped the lawyers and sailed smoothly into the land of singleness.
In the case of both of my divorces there would have been no amount of counseling that could have mended things enough to change our minds. As a matter of fact, my first husband and I had experienced a LOT of counseling, but no amount of therapy can’t change a controlling, emotionally abusive man’s personality. Although I never went to counseling with my second husband, I know that it wouldn’t have changed my mind about leaving him after he had put his hands around my throat, pushed and spit on me. There are some things that counseling can never make right. Abuse of any type is never acceptable and should not be tolerated in a marriage for any reason. This all being said, if I were in a normal marriage, where our biggest problems were that we fought too much or stopped having sex or fell out of love, I can see how beneficial it could be for the government to encourage counseling before allowing couples to divorce.
Although I have experienced two divorces, I do take marriage and the vows I took very seriously. If I weren’t in abusive situations I may have appreciated the idea of working on the marriage before allowing it to end. I love the idea of going to counseling and having a waiting period for divorce, as long as the marriage is not an abusive one. I’m not sure that many couples would attend counseling on their own, so it could be a beneficial addition to the divorce process. I do believe that we sometimes throw in the towel early because it is fairly easy to do so. Marriage takes work and it can be exhausting. Our society is all about making everything fast and easy, but in the case of ending a marriage, this is not always wise. It takes years to get to know someone and love someone, yet when that relationship becomes difficult we can get out in the blink of an eye. If everyone could take a step back to focus on the relationship and have someone who is not emotionally tied to either person to mediate for them, it could lead couples to change their minds to stay and work on the marriage.
This is a very controversial topic and the arguments on both sides are valid. I’m not sure that I like the government having involvement with the personal affairs of its citizens, yet I do think that it is a noble cause to want to decrease the divorce rate and assist couples in avoiding financial and emotional turmoil. What do you think? Should divorce be easy to obtain or do you think that it could be helpful to have programs designed to encourage healing and promote keeping marriages together?