Utah enacts divorce prevention / trial separation package
Text of the legislation, as enacted
In March, 2007, Utah legislator Lorie Fowlke wrote to Smart Marriages:
I am an attorney and Utah state legislator, and attended your conference last year in Atlanta. I just passed the nation's first divorce orientation legislation, HB 128 and it has been funded! This bill is in addition to the already required 2 hour divorce education class for parents. The divorce orientation class is to help them understand the impacts of divorce, provide resources for strengthening their marriage, and resources to go through the divorce and deal with post-divorce issues with less pain, if they proceed. It also allows couples to file for a temporary separation, WITHOUT filing for divorce, for up to one year. During the separation, they must take the course. If they proceed with the divorce, the relatively small filing fee for the temporary separation is applied to the divorce filing fee. It passed the HOUSE unanimously and the Senate with only one dissenting vote. The court administrator's office is ready to begin implementation through the office that now administers the divorce education class for parents.
I would like people to know about this legislation so that they can introduce something similar in their state. I appreciate all that you do for marriage and families in this country.
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Lorie D. Fowlke
Note: There is now a blog set up specificallyto track similar initiatives in Utah:Utah Divorce Prevention News