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Proposed Changes to Get Parties Divorced Quicker

March 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Uncategorized


House Bill 231 attempts to resolve the problems of dissolution of marriage cases that last for several years, leaving parties and their children in limbo while all of the issues slog through the courts. Unfortunately, without the funding the Courts requested to relieve the Judges of their overburdened caseloads, this seems like a Band-Aid on a gushing wound.

The proposed statute will give a Judge discretion after a case has been pending for 180 days (approximately 6 months) to divorce the marriage and reserve jurisdiction to decide any unresolved issues, such as a parenting plan, division of assets and liabilities, spousal support, child support, and attorney fees.

If a case has been pending for 365 days (1 year), the Court shall immediately grant the divorce (reserving on unresolved issues) unless the objecting party can show he or she would suffer irreparable harm.

Some of the benefits of this ruling is that it will allow people who have emotionally moved on and have new partners to remarry, or make real estate purchases that sometimes otherwise would have required the cooperation of their estranged spouse. A disadvantage is that a spouse who was covered through a family insurance plan will be required to use COBRA (which generally terminates after thirty-six months) or obtain their own insurance before issues of property division and support are finalized.

If the bill passes and becomes law, it will be interesting to see how often a party or a Judge asks to use this statute and what far-reaching consequences may come about.


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