HELENA, MT: Should couples be required to get pre-divorce counseling?
Pre-divorce counseling may be a perfectly good idea, but the GOP in Montana don’t think so and they voted overwhelmingly to defeat a proposed bill that would have made pre-divorce counseling Mandatory for Montana residents. The AP:
HELENA — The GOP-controlled House rebuffed a proposal Saturday from the Republican majority leader that would mandate that couples with minor children undergo counseling prior to getting a divorce.
More than two dozen Republicans joined minority Democrats on Saturday in beating back the plan with a 60-40 vote.
House Republican Leader Tom McGillvray of Billings unsuccessfully argued that the state has an interest in mandating the counseling because divorce puts kids into poverty that leads to an increased use of expensive state social services.
“This bill is designed to ask people to think about it,” said McGillvray, a social conservative.
Opponents argued that the state has no business telling adults they have to get counseling before a divorce and didn’t believe there were enough safeguards to make sure people could skip the counseling in cases of really bad or dangerous marriages.
They argued that Montanans decide on their own to seek counseling, and such couples shouldn’t be saddled with counseling that could cost up to $1,000. “I certainly wouldn’t want the government and state or the law saying I had to do it,” said Rep. Duane Ankney of Colstrip. “That would shut it off right there, someone telling me I had to do something.” [more]