According to Inforum, a North Dakota bill sought to delay divorces for couples with minor children and require counseling before a divorce is granted was turned into a study. Senate Bill 2367 is now asking for a 2011-12 state study to examine the physical, emotional and financial effects on dependent children whose parents divorce.
The study seeks legislative policy solutions, including divorce reform legislation and marriage education. The Senate Judiciary Committee voiced opposition to the original bill. However, the revised version received a 5-1 vote to proceed to the full Senate for a vote.
Under the original bill version, at minimum a one-year waiting period would have been required before a divorce decree would be granted. Additionally, North Dakotans wanting to divorce would have had to participate in at minimum 10 one-hour marriage counseling sessions. A judge would rule if those sessions required joint or individual attendance. These requirements would be waved in case of domestic abuse situations. Opposition to this bill argued that it would make divorce more difficult. Bismarck Senator Margaret Sitte was a sponsor of the original North Dakota divorce bill. Sitte claimed divorce had broad social impacts.
The Senators reconsidered and chose to instead study the effects of divorce on families and children. A final decision on whether to conduct the study will be made this summer.