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Utah Legislature: House kills toughening of divorce class law

Published February 16, 2012 8:57 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The House voted against a bill that would require married couples with children to take a "divorce orientation" class, paid for by the state, before filing for divorce. Representatives killed HB290 on a 14-56 vote.

Currently, the course is mandatory but only needs to be completed within 60 days after filing for divorce.

Rep. Jim Nielson, R-Bountiful, the sponsor, said the bill would have required a 90-day period between when someone files for divorce and when it may be finalized.

"Between 20 and 40 percent of people that divorced wished they had worked harder to save their marriage," said Nielson, referencing a University of Missouri study.

On the floor, members spoke against the bill, saying divorce is not something the government should be involved with. Rep. Carol Moss, D-Holladay, gave what she called her "happily divorced, happily remarried" speech.

"It [divorce] is difficult for children," Moss says. "But this is not something the government should require, should be involved with, and the state should not be paying for this."

Britny Mortensen