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Utah Legislature considering change in divorce class requirement

Being married is hard work for many Salt Lake City residents. The same can be true of the end of a marriage, as there are a number of steps that must be taken in order to obtain a divorce, and there can be complicated issues involving property distribution and child custody.

Some of the divorce legal issues may be changing in the State, however, if a new bill passes into law. Under current state law, divorcing parents must complete a mandatory course that deals with issues involving protecting the children of the marriage. The new bill would change the course slightly, to allow parents to take an online course instead of attending it in person.

Proponents of the bill argue that the current requirement does not allow enough flexibility for those who need it, such as single parents who are already stressed for time and who have a lot of things on their plate. Therefore, they want to provide these parents with a reasonable accommodation.

There are opponents of the bill, however, who claim that the change would alter the purpose of the course. Opponents argue the online version would not be as effective as the in-person class, because the online course would not allow for as strong of a learning atmosphere.

The bill recently passed through a committee with a 7 to 1 vote. It is now being voted on by the full House. Accordingly, it remains to be seen whether the change will be enacted into law. However, regardless of whether the bill passes or not, it is an issue for divorcing parents to be aware of, in addition to the other requirements they must satisfy in order to obtain a divorce.

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Source: Deseret News, "Panel OKs bill allowing divorcing parents online option for mandatory course," Katie McKellar, March 6, 2015

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