Mandatory waiting periods and military divorce

Once a marriage has encountered serious trouble, both spouses have usually put in a great deal of time and effort trying to work things out. No one wants to see their marriage end in divorce, which is why so many military families in Florida and across the nation spend months or even years trying to make their union healthy and happy. However, once the decision has been made to move forward with a military divorce, both parties are usually ready to take that path. Unfortunately, some states require a mandatory waiting period before a couple can obtain a divorce, which can lead to a number of issues.

For one, negotiating the division of marital wealth and the terms of child custody are issues that bring on a strong emotional response for many spouses. Moving through the negotiation process can be fraught with tension, and is something that many people dread. When a couple must wait for six months or a year before their divorce is made final, there is more time in which contention can arise.

Another consideration is the fact that many people are ready to head back out into the dating world once it is clear that their marriage is headed for divorce. While dating itself may not be a problem between spouses who are watching the clock on their mandatory waiting period, the unsolicited input by new romantic partners is something that can be difficult to tolerate. When third parties get involved, issues of marital wealth and child custody often become far more complicated than they were at the onset of the divorce. That can make the process even more lengthy and contentious.

For those in Florida who are concerned about the trend toward mandatory waiting periods, it may be worthwhile to follow the matter more closely. Laws change over time in an effort to keep pace with social trends, and one nearby state is currently considering legislation that would reduce the mandatory waiting period from one year to six months. Going through a military divorce is enough of a challenge without having to factor in a mandatory waiting period, which can happen if a family moves from one state to another.  

Source:, "Bill to shorten Louisiana's divorce 'cooling-off' period stirs debate", Jim Mustian, April 22, 2017

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