without destroying all the feelings that still might exist between the parties. Furthermore, the distaste for the matrimonial proceedings will be reduced, thus encouraging people to remarry without the risk of having to face the repugnant fault divorce procedure again.
The need to maintain relations in the future is especially important if children are involved in the matter. When children are concerned, the requirement for fault grounds becomes even crueler to all those involved. It is axiomatic that for children to cope with the divorce process, it is best for the parents to work with each other and have as amicable a relationship as possible. As noted previously, by requiring fault, the statute encourages the parties to call each other names and further, to rehash every possible imperfection that the other may possess. One party is thus seen as the good spouse and the other as the bad spouse. This is not a productive framework in which to encourage the parties to cooperate in raising the children. In fact, by forcing the parties to accept or create grounds for divorce the statute is actually denigrating the parties and destroying opportunities to develop cooperation between the parents. Clearly, this is not beneficial to the parties or their children. By making the parents wait for the end of the marriage, the state is requiring the children to live in limbo as well. This is clearly not in the best interests of the children or the state. Children need finality to move forward with their lives and the new beginnings that their parents are striving for by coming to agreement to end the marriage. Forcing the parents to wait a year for the finalization of a divorce is not beneficial to the children.
The proposed legislation is not simply a quick fix. The bill not only stipulates that the relationship between the parties must have been broken down irretrievably for six months, but also accounts for the resolution of all of the parties’ major issues before a divorce can be granted. Only after resolution of issues such as the distribution of marital property, spousal support, child support, payment of counsel fees and custody and visitation issues does the bill allow for a divorce, thus protecting both parties’ economic interests and rights. The bill we support (S.3890) stands on its own in protecting both parties’ economic interests. We do not think its passage should be conditioned on the passage of maintenance guidelines. In addition, the Association has historically supported the award of interim attorneys’ fees in divorce cases as a way to ensure that both parties’ interests – including economic interests - are represented by competent counsel.