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N.C. legislators propose more rigorous divorce regulations

A pair of Republican lawmakers want to make it harder to get a divorce in North Carolina by making estranged couples wait longer and go to counseling.

The Healthy Marriage Act would extend to two years the current one-year waiting period in order for a divorce to be finalized. During that time, the couple would have to complete courses on improving their communications skills and learning better conflict resolution techniques.

Couples who have children would have to take at least a four-hour class on the effect of divorce on children.

Veteran Sen. Austin Allran of Hickory is the primary sponsor.

Second-term Sen. Warren Daniel of Morganton has signed on as a sponsor of Senate Bill 518. Both are lawyers.

Under the bill, separated couples could resume living together during the two-year waiting period.

Either the husband or the wife would have to have lived in North Carolina for six months before filing for divorce.

The proposal also would strike from the current law a provision that says “isolated incidents of sexual intercourse” don’t count against the one-year waiting period.

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