Divorce Today, Remarry Tomorrow

Divorce Today, Remarry Tomorrow

2021 | Week of March 8 | Radio Transcript #1402

Doug and Sally have decided their ten-year marriage isn’t working, and they want out. They just aren’t happy anymore; the love they once felt is gone—and working it out just isn’t going to happen. They agree to divorce—as amicably as possible—and take the legal steps to make that happen. They of course will share custody of their two minor children, ages eight and six.

During the time it takes for them to finalize the divorce, Sally’s friendship with a longtime co-worker, Sam, blossoms into a romance. She is convinced he is the one she needs in her life.

Sally and Sam, who has 2 children of his own from a previous marriage, want to get married as soon as possible after Doug and Sally’s divorce is finalized. They hate that Wisconsin has a six-month waiting period after a divorce before a remarriage.

During this year or so that all of this has happened, Doug and Sally’s kids have been spending time split between the two of them—about half of their time with Doug, who is dating again, and Sally, who is engaged to be remarried. Their time spent with Sam and his kids, both of whom are older, has been challenging, to say the least.  Both children seem frightened and sometimes even angry. Doug and Sally have both noticed but figure kids are resilient and once everything is settled, they’ll be just fine.

This totally fictious scenario is lived out in real life thousands of times each year in Wisconsin.  I hope the innocent victim in this story leaps out at you—the two minor children who did absolutely nothing to bring about the divorce, have no say in the choices their parents make about new relationships, must bounce back and forth between their dad and mom because, well, that’s the way it is and the way it’s going to be, and certainly have no input on the remarriage of their mom. Their needs are being totally forfeited on the altar of adult desires.  As author Katy Faust puts it, we are living in a time where it’s us as adults before them as children, when it really should be them as children before us as adults.[1]

And this is why Assembly Bill 79 needs to go away in Wisconsin. For the third consecutive session, Republican legislators have introduced a bill to completely eliminate the waiting period after a divorce before a remarriage. Currently, the waiting period after a divorce in our state is six months—and that’s for good reason. It’s not capricious or arbitrary. It’s prudent, especially when minor children are concerned.

Even the best divorces, whatever that may mean, take their toll on the man and woman and certainly on children as the confused and conflicted innocent victims. Some time between the dissolution of one marriage before another allows for cooling off and healing, for sorting through important details, for serious premarital counseling, and certainly for helping minor children adjust to yet another living arrangement.

The Republican authors and a few Democrats assert that their bill is pro-marriage; it’s not. It’s pro-adult-desires. If it were pro-marriage, the authors would at least be open to an amendment that says the waiting period remains in place for couples with minor children. Or open to an amendment that reduces the waiting period to say three months, rather than completely eliminating it. But to date, that’s not the case. Adult desires trump the best interest of children; it’s us before them—again.

I’ve sat in hearings on this bill 4 times now, twice in the Assembly and twice in the Senate.  I’ve heard people testify in support of the bill saying that the state forces them to sin because of this waiting period. Think about that a bit. If that doesn’t tell you how cockeyed much of the thinking is today, I don’t know what will. I’ve heard parents say they know their children will be just fine; after all, they’re resilient. They’ll flex and bounce back. I’ve heard elected officials say to the very few people who oppose the bill, “who are you to tell anyone what’s good or bad for their children?” Well, the truth is, anyone who is willing to look at all objectively at what divorce and remarriage does to children would know this bill is not in the best interest of children. It’s all about adult desires. It’s about us before them…always these days.

Assembly Bill 79 is bad for children; it’s also bad for adults. But adults can handle all the stresses and changes better than minor children who have no control at all in the situation they’ve been put in through no fault of their own.  Eliminating this waiting period just increases the harm to children while adults indulge their personal happiness.

For Wisconsin Family Council, this is Julaine Appling reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

[1] https://thembeforeus.com/

 

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