Lawmaker wants to make couples wait 2 years for divorce
Chisum has already successfully passed another marriage-related bill through Legislature.
By Corrie MacLaggan
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
Texans would have to wait two years to get a divorce — unless they take a class designed to save their marriage — under a proposal a key state lawmaker says he plans to revive.
State Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Pampa, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, sought to get a similar measure passed in 2007. He said he's planning to bring it back as one of his priorities for the legislative session that begins in January.
"The deal is, we need to take marriage more seriously," said Chisum, who in October will celebrate his 51st wedding anniversary.
It now takes at least 60 days to finalize a divorce in Texas. Across the country, waiting periods range from 30 days in Alabama to up to two years in Maryland, if one spouse contests the divorce, according to Mike McManus, president of Marriage Savers, a group that works with communities to start marriage education programs.
The Texas proposal died last year in a House committee, but the Legislature passed another marriage-related proposal by Chisum.
House Bill 2685, which goes into effect Sept. 1, doubles the $30 marriage license fee to $60 — but couples can bypass the fee by taking an eight-hour premarital class.