State Policies to Promote Marriage. Preliminary Report.. Table 2: Divorce Laws and Procedures

03/01/2002

State No Fault Sole Ground No-Fault Grounds Added to Fault-Based Divorce No-Fault Modifications (a) Covenant Marriage Mandatory Education on Effects of Divorce Joint Legal Custody Presumption Laws (b)
Alabama   X   Bills. SB606 and HB30, proposed in 1998 but died; Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/ala.html   X
Alaska   X   Bill. HB390 and SB319 introduced in March and April 1998. Option for charter(covenant marriage; Includes premarital counseling and stricter grounds for divorce. Did not pass. Source: Phone interview with Dawn Cassidy, National Council on Family Relations Bill. HB477 proposed in 1996. Mandatory education courses for parents who seek divorce (unless court waives requirement); Required course administered by the administrative director of courts through contracts with public or private entities. DIED in committee.

Source: http://old-www.legis.state.ak.us/s/basp1000.dll?Get&S=19&Root=HB477

X
Arizona Xc X c (1) Bill. SB1414 (1996). Did not pass. Amending laws 1994, chapter 374, section 24 relating to dissolution of marriage. Evaluate recent proposals in other states to amend no fault divorces by adding fault-based provisions that are designed to put the needs of children first. Source: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/
legtext/42leg/2r/bills/sb1414p.htm

(2) Bill. SB1409 (1997) Did not pass. Requires that a petition for dissolution of marriage shall set forth the grounds on which the court may grant the decree. Source: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/
legtext/43leg/1r/summary/s.1409.fs.htm
Law. Bill SB1133 passed on May 21, 1998. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/ari.html Law. Article 5, 25-35. Unless deemed unnecessary, divorcing parents of a minor child must attend an educational program to educate parents on the impacts of divorce. Introduced in 1996. No program providers specified. Source: http://www.azleg.state.az.us/ars/25/title25.htm X
Arkansas   X   Law. Bill HB2102 passed on April 6 2001. Source: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/ftproot/bills/1999/htm/HB2102.htm Law. Statutes (9-12-322) include: Court may require divorcing parents to complete at least 2 hours of classes concerning parenting issue faced by divorcing parents (Acts 1999, No. 704, § 1); Source: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/newsdcode/lpext.dll/  
California X   Bill. AB913 (1997) as proposed creates the Family and Children Preservation Act. The bill requires parties filing for dissolution and who have minor children to file a "joint parenting plan". The bill allows dissolution based on irreconcilable differences only upon the mutual consent of the parties. Source: Assembly Judiciary Committee, California State Legislature (http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/
committee/c15/publications/divorcereform97.pdf
)
Bill SB1377 proposed in Senate in 1998 but did not pass. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html    
Colorado X     Bill. It was killed in Feb. 1999 (House Bill 99-1199). Source: http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/leg_dir/lcsstaff/1999/research/99CivilLaw.htm Bill HB1337 (2002) failed in committee. Would require counseling for all couples with children seeking a divorce that would inform parents about the impact of divorce on children. Source: http://www.state.co.us/gov_dir/stateleg.html X
Connecticut   X     Law. Sec. 46b-69b. All separating and divorcing parents can be required to attend a six-hour parental education classes...the $100 class provides parents w/ info. on child development, the effect of parental separation on children, dispute resolution and conflict management, guidelines for visitation, stress reduction in children, and lessons in cooperative parenting. Source: http://www.cga.state.ct.us/lco/Statute%20Web%20Site%20-%20LCO.htm X
Delaware   X       X
District of Columbia   X       X
Florida   X     Law. Bill S1576 (1998) passed. (Ch. 98-403). Couples w/ children who file for divorce must take a Parent Education and Family Stabilization course that covers the legal and emotional impact of divorce on adults and children, financial responsibility, laws on child abuse or neglect and they must learn conflict resolution skills. Source: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Welcome/index.cfm X
Georgia   X Law. Amended Code Section 19-13-4. Bill HB434 (1997-1998). That the marriage is irretrievably broken will be a ground for divorce only if the parties agree and there are no minor children of the marriage. Source: http://www2.state.ga.us/Legis/
1997_98/leg/fulltext/hb434.html
Bill. Bill HB 1138 passed by Senate in Feb. 1998. Sent to the House. Source: http://www.state.ga.us/services/newleg/legsearch.cgi?year=2001&bill=HB17   X
Hawaii X       (1) Law. HB1172 (1997) passed. Requires couples with children to obtain pre-divorce counseling to ensure the children's welfare after the divorce. Source: Assembly Judiciary Committee, California State Legislature: http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/committee/c15/
publications/divorcereform97.pdf

(2) The state requires divorcing parents to take a course addressing the impact of divorce on children. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty State Initiatives to Encourage Responsible Fatherhood (1999).

X
Idaho   X Bill. HB470 (1996). Requires that irreconcilable differences be determined by mutual consent of the parties rather than by the court. Source: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/
spring98/marriage.html#III.A
.(4)
    X
Illinois   X     Law. Sec. 404.1 of Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Statues Include: Court may order parents who seek divorce to attend an education program concerning the effects of dissolution of marriage on children; Course is not to exceed 4 hrs in duration; Source: http://www.legis.state.il.us/ilcs/ch750/ch750act5articles/ch750act5Sub4.htm X
Indiana   X Bill. HB1049 (1997). Failed. Establishes two classifications of marriage licenses - contract marriage licenses and covenant marriage licenses. The bill provides that only a marriage based upon a contract license may be dissolved without providing fault. Source: Assembly Judiciary Committee, California State Legislature (http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/committee/
c15/publications/divorcereform97.pdf
)
Bill. H.B. 1052, 110th Leg., 2d Sess. (Ind. 1998). Proposed in house, 1998 http://www.divorcereform.org/ind.html   X
Iowa X     Bill. Senate File 353. Proposed in Senate, 2001, http://www.divorcere form.org/cov.html Law. Section 598.19A. The court shall order the parties to any action which involves the issues of child custody or visitation to participate in a court-approved course to educate and sensitize the parties to the needs of any child or party during and subsequent to the proceeding within forty-five days of the service of notice and petition for the action or within forty-five days of the service of notice and application for modification of an order. Source: http://www2.legis.state.ia.us/IACODE/1999/598/19A.html X
Kansas   X Bill. S173 (2002) would roll back no-fault divorce in cases where dependent children are in the home. In 2/02, approved by Senate Judiciary Committee. Source: Smartmarriages.com listserve (2/5/02). S312 (1997) requires mutual consent for a no-fault divorce. Failed. Source: http://www.accesskansas.org/legislative/
billsubject/index.cgi/1998/312.html
Bill H2839 (1998) proposed in House but failed. Source: http://www.accesskansas.org/ legislative/ Bill. Senate Bill 320 (1998). Failed in Senate. Effect of divorce on the child involved including developmental stages; responses to divorce; symptoms of maladjustment to divorce and responses to maladjustment; and education or counseling options for the child; Source: http://www.accesskansas.org/legislative/ X
Kentucky X   Bill. SB195 (1998 Regular). Died in committee. Create a new section of KRS Chapter 403 to require fault before a court enters a judgment of divorce in certain cases, amend KRS 403.190 to conform, repeal KRS 403.140, 403.150, and 403.170. Source: http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/record/98rs/SB195.htm   Bill. HB896 (1998 Regular). Died in committee. Create a new section of KRS Chapter 403 to require that all persons who have minor children that would be affected by a divorce attend a counseling class of their choosing at least three months prior to entry of the divorce decree. Source: http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/record/98rs/HB896.htm X
Louisiana   Xc   Law. HB756 (1997). Amends and reenacts Civil Code Articles 102 and 103 and R.S. 9:234 and 245(A)(1) and enacts R.S. 9:224(C) and 225(A)(3), Part VII of Chapter 1 of Code Title IV of Code Book I of Title 9 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, comprised of R.S. 9:272 through 275, and R.S. 9:307, 308, and 309. Source: http://patriot.net/~crouch/cov/index.html   X
Maine   X       X
Maryland   X   Bill. Bill HB1076 (1999 RS) proposed in House. Killed. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/mar.html Bill. SB367 (1996 Leg., Reg. Sess.). Mandatory educational courses for parents seeking to divorce. The bill suggests that the goal of the educational seminar would be to educate parents on the effects of divorce and to minimize the disruption it causes on the minor children of the marriage. Source: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/spring98/ marriage.html#fn31 X
Massachusetts   X Bill. HB 1168 (1997) prohibits unilateral no-fault divorce for irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/mas.html     X
Michigan X   Bill. HB5167 and HB5168 (2002). Modifies no-fault divorce for couples with minor children. Source: http://www.michiganlegislature.org/ Bill. Introduced 2000. Option for covenant marriage; Includes premarital counseling and commitment to take all reasonable efforts to preserve marriage; Killed. Source: Dawn Cassidy, National Council on Family Relations (1) The state has a program for divorcing parents called Start Making it Livable for Everyone (SMILE) to help them understand the ramifications of divorce on children. The program is not mandatory and participation varies by county. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999).

(2) Bill. HB5166 (2001). Requires an educational predivorce program including divorce effects if a child is involved. Source: http://www.michiganlegislature.org/

X
Minnesota X   Bill. HF1975 (79th Leg., Reg. Sess., 1995). Requires that irreconcilable differences be determined by mutual consent of the parties rather than by the court. Source: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/
spring98/marriage.html#III.A.(4)
Bill. See H.F. 2760, 80th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Minn. 1997); S.F. 2935, 80th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Minn. 1997). Source: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/spring98/marriage.html#58 Law. Chapter 518.157 of Minnesota Statutes. Statues Include: Courts may order divorcing parents of a minor child to attend a parent education program; chief judge of each judicial district implements one or more parent education programs to educate parents about various issues surrounding divorce; Source: http://www.revisor.leg. state.mn.us/stats/518/157.html X
Mississippi   X   Bill. H.B. 1645, 1998 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Miss. 1998); S.B. 2910, 1998 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Miss. 1998); H.B. 1201, 1998 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Miss. 1998); H.B. 1222, 1998 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Miss. 1998). Proposed in House and Senate. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html   X
Missouri X     Bill. HB1864 (1998) proposed in House. Source: http://www.house.state.mo.us/bills98/bills98/hb1864.htm#introduced Several judicial circuits offer or require parenting education on the impact of divorce on children. Source: National Center of Children in Poverty (1999). X
Montana X   Bill. HB573 introduced in 1997. Requires mutual consent for no-fault divorce based on separation, and having court consider the best interest of the children before granting a contested divorce based on fault or marital discord. Source: http://patriot.net/~crouch/act/hb573mt.html   Law. Title 40, § 4-10. Divorcing parents can receive counseling on the impact of divorce on children. Source: http://data.opi.state.mt.us/bills/mca_toc/index.htm X
Nebraska X     Bill. L.B. 1214, 95th Leg., 2d Sess. (Neb. 1997). Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html Law. Passed July 1998. Divorce action involving minors may require parenting class. Source: http://statutes.unicam.state.ne.us/Corpus/statutes/
chap42/R420304901_42-349.01.html
X
Nevada   X       X
New Hampshire   X Bill. HB1301 introduced in 2001. Permits no fault divorce based on irreconcilable differences only if there are no minor children of the parties. Source: http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/legislation/2001/HB1301.html   The state has a pilot program underway in two counties requiring parenting classes in divorce cases. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999). X
New Jersey   X Bill. AB2547 (1997). Failed. Eliminates the no-fault provision as a ground for divorce. Source: Assembly Judiciary Committee, California State Legislature (http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/committee/
c15/publications/divorcereform97.pdf
)
    X
New Mexico   X     (1) Divorcing parents must undergo mandatory counseling to ensure that they are knowledgeable of the impact of divorce on children. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999).

(2) Bill. Senate Bill SB0318 introduced in 1999. Proposed bill to produce and distribute a booklet entitled "Before You check out-check your options" that would offer couples in conflict a range of options available to them prior to marriage dissolution. Source: http://www.empowermentnetwork.com/policy/gov1.htm, http://legis.state.nm.us/Sessions/99%20Regular/bills/senate/SB0318.html

X
New York   X        
North Carolina   X       X
North Dakota   X       X
Ohio   X   Bill. See H.B. 567, 122d Leg., Reg. Sess. (Ohio 1997). Source: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/spring98/marriage.html#58   X
Oklahoma   X   Bill. S.B. 1115, 46th Leg., 2d Sess. (Okla. 1997); H.B. 2208, 46th Leg., 2d Sess. (Okla. 1997). Oklahoma Covenant Marriage bill. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html   X
Oregon   X   Bill. SB1336 (1999) passed in May 1999 by Senate. Sent to the House. Source: http://www.leg.state.or.us/99reg/measures/sb1300.dir/sb1336.a.html   X
Pennsylvania   X     (1) Bill. SB442 (1997). Failed. Prohibits the court from granting a marital dissolution when the parties have any minor children between the ages of six and sixteen unless the parties demonstrate that the children have attended at least three counseling sessions between the time of separation and the granting of the divorce decree. Source: Assembly Judiciary Committee, CA State Legislature: http://www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/committee/c15/publications/divorcereform97.pdf
(2) Bill. Senate Bill 1575 (2001). Amending Section 3302(c) of the Title 23 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. The court shall refer the parties seeking a separation or dissolution of marriage to counseling of their choice, which counseling shall focus substantially on the potential harm to the children of separation or dissolution of the marriage. Source: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/2001%5F0/hb1575p1927.htm
X
Rhode Island   X       X
South Carolina   X   Bill. S 0961 Joint Resolution (1998) to amend Section 3, Article 12 XVII of the constitution of South Carolina. Died in committees. Introduced in 1997. Senate proposed Constitutional Amendment of the Constitution of this State, relating to the grounds for divorce to provide that, as a ground for divorce, in a covenant marriage a continuous separation must be for a period of at least two years; http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html,
http://www.leginfo.state.sc.us/cgi-bin/query99.exe?
first=DOC&querytext=Marriage&session=112&conid=9480&
result_pos=0&keyval=1120961#OCC2
  X
South Dakota   X       X
Tennessee   X   Bill. H.B. 2101, 100th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Tenn. 1997). Proposed in House, 1997 http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html Law. Introduced 2000. Require divorcing parents with children under age 18 to participate in a parental seminar and jointly complete a permanent parenting plan. Source: http://www.gocrc.com/best2001.html X
Texas   X Bill. Introduced legislation that requires mutual consent for a no-fault divorce. Introduced in 1997 but was killed. Source: http://www.heritage.org/library/
backgrounder/bg1421.html
Bill. SB1015 passed in the Senate in May 1999 and sent to the House. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/txsen99.html Law. Statutes include: Court may order parties involved in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship to attend a 4 to 12 hour-long parent education and family stabilization course (Added by HB2441, 1999); Source: Dawn Cassidy, NCFR.ORG X
Utah   X     Law. Section 30-3-11.3. Unless the court orders otherwise, before a final order of joint legal custody is entered both parties shall attend the mandatory course for divorcing parents, as provided in Section 30-3-11.3 , and present a certificate of completion from the course to the court. Source: http://www.le.state.ut.us/%7Ecode/TITLE30/TITLE30.htm X
Vermont   X     The state provides counseling to help divorcing couples understand the impact of divorce on children. Source: National Center for Children in Poverty (1999). X
Virginia   X Bill. H.B. 1188, 1997 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Va. 1996). The bill would prohibit no-fault divorce if the couple has minor children and would further require mutual consent and a one-year waiting period to grant a no-fault divorce. Source: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/
spring98/marriage.html#47
Bill. H.B. 1056, 1998 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Va. 1998); H.J.R. 266, 1998 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Va. 1998); H.B. 1159, 1998 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Va. 1998). Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html Law. HB1178 (2000). Virginia's Parental Education for Divorcing Parents law requires parents involved in custody and access (visitation) cases to attend parenting classes. Source: http://www.gocrc.com/best2001.html X
Washington X   (1) Bill. H.B. 2950, 54th Leg., Reg. Sess. (Wash. 1995). The bill would require evidence of an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. A divorce decree would not be granted it if was not in the best interests of the children. Source: http://www.uchastings.edu/plri/
spring98/marriage.html#47

(2) Bill. Senate Bill 5564 introduced in January 1997. Involves modifications to require mutual consent. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/was.html

Bill. SB 6135 (1997-1998). Died in committee. Covenant marriages established. http://www.divorcereform.org/cov.html    
West Virginia   X Bill. H.B. 4416, 1996 Leg., Reg. Sess. (W. Va. 1996). Introduced legislation that requires mutual consent for a no-fault divorce. Source: http://www.heritage.org/library/
backgrounder/bg1421.html
Bill SB2208 proposed in Senate in 1999 but did not pass. Source: http://www.divorcereform.org/wva.html   X
Wisconsin X     Bill. AB-83 and SB-17 (2000). Create provisions for covenant marriage. Source: http://www.legis.state.wi.us Bill. Bill AB-524 (2000). Divorce or legal separation involving minor child: court shall order parties to attend certain education program. Source: http://www.legis.state.wi.us X
Wyoming   X       X