According to the Denver Post, apparently some members of the Colorado legislature are proposing a longer mandatory “cooling off” period in divorce cases. For what?
In most cases, divorce is difficult and when minor children are involved, it can be extremely hard on kids and parents. But the answer is not to lengthen the process. Current law requires 90 days to pass after filing before a final divorce decree can be issued. Extending that time period will not cause parties to reconsider divorce or the impact on their children any more than they already do. Many domestic relations courts already require parties to attend parenting courses that teach about the impacts of divorce on children. Many courts also already encourage parents to proceed through the divorce process with dignity and always with the best interests of the children in mind, which is always a good approach. Some parties are able navigate a divorce with minimal conflict, some are not. In that regard, it’s no different than life in general.
In my experience counseling clients in the midst of a divorce, the best way to endure a divorce is to take responsibility for the many difficult and emotional decisions that a couple must make to unwind the marriage. This almost always requires compromise and accepting parenting arrangements that are far from perfect. But, failure to take responsibility and make hard choices will result in transferring control over critical aspects of one’s life to a judge who will never know your life, your spouse, or your kids better than you.
The problem isn’t that people enter divorce with insufficient forethought. Unless the legislature is also going to enact a mandatory “cooling off” period before one may enter a marriage, I see no benefit to require people who wish to end their marriage to wait longer than they already have to.