Portrait of John K Grubb

Texas Divorce and Prenuptial Agreement

5005 Riverway Drive, Suite 450 • Houston, Texas 77056

Phone: 713-877-8800 • Fax: 713-877-1229

Is a Divorce Waiting Period a Good Idea?

Researchers looking at the relationships between couples in the middle of divorcing reached the following conclusion: “Our results suggest that divorces with the greatest potential to harm children occur in marriages that have the greatest potential for reconciliations.” The study’s authors are using this data to suggest a mandatory one-year waiting period for couples seeking a divorce.

The idea behind the one-year wait is that states are letting people divorce who may actually be able to reconcile. Past studies have shown that most divorces happen to couples who report average happiness and low levels of conflict. These couples may have just drifted apart. Only a small percentage of divorces occur between spouses involved in a high degree of conflict and abuse.

Because most divorces are coming from spouses in these “middle of the road” circumstances, some researchers and legislators think we might be able to provide more counseling services to divorcing spouses. In about half of all divorce cases, at least one spouse is open to reconciliation. If there is a way to avoid putting spouses and their children through a divorce, the interested parties claim, we might be able to do something about it.

The other side of the story is worrying about trapping people in unhappy marriages. Most states have a waiting period between filing for divorce and actually divorcing of zero to six months. Texas has no waiting period. Most other developed countries have waiting periods quite a bit longer. In Europe, for example, three-year waiting periods are the norm. What are your thoughts on requiring marriage counseling and longer waiting periods as a way to help divorcing spouses reconcile?

John K. Grubb & Associates, P.C. – Houston divorce attorneys

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