State lawmakers want to extend the waiting period for divorce

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A group of Republican lawmakers wants to make it a little more complicated to get a divorce in North Carolina.

Senator Austin Allran (R) of Alexander and Catawba Counties is the co-sponsor for what he calls the "Healthy Marriage Act". The proposed bill would require a two-year waiting period and mandatory counseling for couples who want a divorce.

In North Carolina, the law requires couples to live apart for one-year before they can file for divorce. Critics say the two-year waiting period could do more harm than good.

Greensboro Marriage Counselor Jill White-Huffman says the two-year waiting period is a good thing. It will give the couples enough time to find the root of their problem and hopefully avoid divorce court.

"Some people make spontaneous decisions. You know they think the way out is because of a lack  of communication or having that model of what healthy relationships should be like for them," Huffman said.

The bill states that couples would have to complete courses on improving communication skills and conflict resolutions, something that isn’t required right now.

Legislators could vote on the bill sometime this summer.