Alabama Bill Would Make it Tougher to Get Divorced


The Times-Daily:

A Republican bill in the Alabama Senate would create a new twist to marriage in the state, one that would require pre-marital counseling and make it more difficult for a couple to divorce.

Sen. Phil Williams, R-Rainbow City, said his bill to create a covenant marriage is designed to decrease Alabama's high divorce rate.

... Williams' bill is modeled after Louisiana's covenant marriage law, which went into effect in 1997

... Williams, who blames no-fault divorces for making it easy for couples to split up, said covenant marriages are a choice for couples.

"It is hard to figure overreaching when all you are doing is providing an option," Williams said.

... The bill states for a couple to enter into a covenant marriage they must provide an affidavit stating they've received premarital counseling from a religious leader or a marriage counselor. That counseling must include a discussion of the obligation to seek more counseling in times of marital difficulties and a discussion of the exclusive grounds for terminating a covenant marriage.

A spouse could ask a judge to grant a divorce without first seeking counseling if there is proof the other spouse had committed adultery, abused the filing spouse or their children, committed a felony or had left the family home for more than a year and refused to return.

Otherwise, counseling is a mandatory step in the process.