Parents May Need Counseling Before Happily Never After

Bill would require classes before couples with kids can divorce

A West Texas lawmaker wants to put an end to the quick divorce -- or at least force couples to really think about it first.

Legislation filed by Rep. Warren Chisum, of Pampa, would require couples with children who want to divorce to get counseling first. The bill would create a mandatory, 10-hour counseling course before divorce papers can be filed.

He argues such classes can help reduce Texas' 50 percent divorce rate, the Dallas Morning News reported.

The workshops would cover conflict management and communication and forgiveness skills, the newspaper reported.

But at a cost of up to $150, critics say the requirement could create a financial hardship for some couples.

Women's advocates also said the measure could force women to stay in abusive relationships.

While the bill would exclude people who can provide proof of abuse, advocates point out that the majority of domestic violence victims do not file police reports, the Dallas Morning News reported.

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