Currently, married couples wishing to divorce in Washington must sit out a three-month waiting period. A new bill in Olympia would extend that to one year.

Senate Bill 5614 has been introduced by a number of Senators, including Jerome Delvin, and would require a one-year time frame for divorce. The Family Policy Institute of Washington, a conservative group that supports policies that recognize and preserve the sanctity of the family in Washington state, are big supporters of the bill.

According to FPI significant benefits would result from extending the waiting period:

  • According to a study done by the University of Minnesota, 40 percent of couples in divorce proceedings have at least one or both persons interested in reconciliation efforts.
  • Children from traditional homes have far lower rates of drug use, academic struggles, dropping out of school, as well as lower smoking and suicide rates.
  • FPI says extending the waiting period greatly increases chances of reconciliation and repair in marriages.
  • FPI says the U of Minnesota study shows children who come from a divorced family are 50 percent more likely to suffer a divorce in their own marriage.

Now, in case of serious incidents, violence, or other negative behavior associated with the divorce, SB 5614 has a provision for that:

The one year period may be waived by the court when either party is convicted of a violent or sexual felony or if one party makes a threat of physical violence against the other party or a minor child.

The bill is slated to be heard by a Senate committee in Olympia this Friday to see if it will move on for a vote. Those in favor of the bill indicate it has strong bi-partisan support.  What are your thoughts? Should those divorcing be required to wait a year instead of three months? Take our poll.