A bill to shorten Utah’s waiting period for divorce from 90 days to 30 days is going to Gov. Gary Herbert for his consideration.

The Senate voted 25-1 on Friday to concur with House amendments to SB25, which originally would have totally eliminated the waiting period.

It ran into some controversy when some lawmakers argued that it sends the wrong message about the sanctity of marriage.

“For me, it’s a perception issue,” Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said in earlier debate, adding that it diminishes the value of marriage.

However, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said he’s seen no evidence that the waiting period changes many, if any, minds about seeking a divorce.

“This is an arbitrary time that is supposed to allow couples to reconcile, but if you look at the data, there’s no evidence — absolutely zero evidence — that the states with waiting periods have a lower rate of divorce than the states with no waiting periods.”

The bill would also ban courts from acting on motions in divorce cases (except for temporary restraining orders) until splitting spouses complete required divorce-orientation classes.

TRACK THIS BILL

Scrap Utah's 90-day waiting period for obtaining a divorce. - Read full text

Current Status:

Filed Law Introduced in Senate Senate Committee Senate passage House Committee House passage Governor's OK

Jan. 30: Utah Senate votes to end state’s 90-day waiting period for divorce

Despite concerns it could send the wrong message, the Utah Senate on Wednesday approved a bill ending the state’s 90-day waiting period for divorce.

Senators sent SB25 to the House on a 16-10 vote.

“For me, it’s a perception issue,” said Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, saying it diminishes the value of marriage.

Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, added, “We can help to keep people from rashly getting into a divorce and having the children pay the consequences.”

However, Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, said in the divorces she has seen, “When that decision is made, it’s hard to do — and it takes a long time to do it.” She said adding 90 days to the process doesn’t help save marriages and complicates the ability of people involved to move on with their lives.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said he’s seen no evidence that the waiting period changes many, if any, minds about seeking a divorce.

“There is no science behind this,” he said. “This is an arbitrary time that is supposed to allow couples to reconcile, but if you look at the data, there’s no evidence — absolutely zero evidence — that the states with waiting periods have a lower rate of divorce than the states with no waiting periods.”

The bill would also ban courts from acting on motions in divorce cases (except for temporary restraining orders) until splitting spouses completed required divorce-orientation classes.