Saturday, February 13, 2010

No Divorce For You!

Slowly, but surely, the government is injecting itself into almost every aspect of our lives. How we do things. When we do things. Why we do things. When did the American people suddenly become so incompetent that they couldn't make a decision on their own? I don't know either, but if we're not careful, we're not going to be able to decide when we want to get divorced if we live in Arizona. Wait. What?

Correct. According to the, a one Rep. Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) has sponsored a one bill HB 2650 which basically makes couples who want to divorce wait four months longer than they already have to wait. See, her theory is "....that requiring couples to wait 180 days will result in more people deciding they actually should stay together." Um...why?

She claims that in states where there is a longer waiting period, the divorce rate per 1,000 is 3.6 whereas in not-thinking-things-through-long-enough Arizona, the divorce rate per 1,000 is 3.9. OK, so that may be true. But thank goodness for Rep. Phil Lopes (D-Tucson), who piped up and said that what she's doing is that she's "...confusing correlation with actual causation". He also said that despite the statistics that "...there is no hard evidence that delays in granting divorce decrees actually keep couples happily married." And do you know what Rep. Barto had to say to that? You guessed it. She agreed with him. Wait. What?!

She agreed. There's no hard evidence that making people stay married longer when they're already expressed a desire to get divorced is going to actually make them decide to stay married. And Rep. Balto has been warned by a one Colleen McNally, a presiding family court judge for Maricopa County said "...that stretching out the process actually could be dangerous...domestic violence attacks actually increase the moment a spouse tries to get out of an abusive marriage." Yeah, see, I think that would be a problem. If you're forced to stay in a marriage and endure some beatings for an extra four months, that's not going to help the situation.

Adding to the ridiculousness of this idea (because you know there are supporters of it out there) are people like Deborah Sheasby, a despicable lobbyist. (I think all lobbyists are despicable, so it's not like I'm singling her out for anything, I just don't like lobbyists.) She claimed "...that in about four out of every five divorce cases, one spouse does not want out of the marriage." Yes, but see, that's why the marriage has to end! Because, in case you were absent on the day when we went over what a marriage entails, it would seem that both people need to want to be IN the marriage in order for it to be successful. Just because only ONE person wants to stay married is not really a very good reason in favor of the whole staying married idea. It's actually more of an argument for why they should get divorced.

Look, even though you can technically be granted a divorce in Arizona in as little as 60 days, that doesn't mean it's going to happen. The 60 days scenario is the "best case" scenario. If there is any negotiation, if there is any discrepancy as to who should get what, if there are children and/or property involved, or any number of other factors, you are not going to be fully divorced after the minimum 60 days has passed. Do the people that propose asinine legislation like this not see where the problem lies? I guess not. Perhaps I'll share it with them.

How about this idea instead: How about instead of making it so damn difficult for people to get divorced, why don't you make it a little more difficult for them to get married? Why is it so easy to get INTO something that is likely going to end up being the most life-altering decision that you can possibly make? Shouldn't that require a little bit more thought? Shouldn't that require a little bit more time to ponder and to plan for? How about this idea: People who go through pre-marital counseling BEFORE they get married get some sort of a tax break? People who are married and take some sort of marriage-stayin'-together class every other year get some sort of a tax break? I don't know. I'm just throwing stuff out there. It could be that requiring folks to wait before getting married is just as dumb as making folks wait before getting divorced, but I'm not so sure that it is.

If I thought that it were possible, I'd just say that the government needs to butt out of marriage all together. But since I know that's never going to happen (revenue, doncha know?), it makes more sense to me to have a longer waiting period before getting married than it does to have a longer waiting period to get divorced. I guess since it makes sense, that'll never happen either. Shame, too. I kinda thought I was onto something.

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