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Wyoming Divorce: New Bill To Require Marriage Counseling

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By Minara El-Rahman on January 13, 2011 8:46 AM

If you want in a divorce in Wyoming, you may have to wait a year to get one if a new bill is passed.

Couples seeking a Wyoming divorce may have to complete 3 hours of counseling before they can divorce. This is what Wyoming legislators are proposing in a new bill, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports.

If passed, the bill would require that divorcing couples complete 3 hours of premarital counseling at their own expense. If couples choose to forgo the counseling requirement, they will be required to wait one year before they can obtain a divorce.

In a state that has one of the highest rates of divorce since 2004, the proposed legislation is intended to allow couples in Wyoming a chance to understand the consequences of marriage and divorce. "All it is is education. It's education regarding the most common stressors in a relationship," Rep. Ed Buchanan, R-Torrington told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. The counseling sessions would allow couples to talk about common stressors in marriage such as communication, money, children, and possible avenues of conflict resolution after the marriage ceremony.

He added that victims of domestic violence can waive the counseling requirement during divorce proceedings by a judge in order to avoid having to meet a counselor with their abuser.

Back in 2004, Wyoming divorce rates were the third highest after Nevada and Arkansas. In 2007, Wyoming still remained in the top five states with the highest rates of divorce. From 2008-2009, U.S. Census numbers show that the state had a divorce rate of 5.2 couples per 1,000; which means that Wyoming still remains the state with the third highest divorce rate, according to the Casper Star-Tribune.

Divorces are a major reason why children in Wyoming are raised in poverty and need government services, according to Rep. Ed Buchanan, R-Torrington. "It's designed to try, in some small way, to make a difference in that. It would make a difference, I think, in a lot of kids' lives."

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