Utah lawmaker targets women with new divorce barriers so men aren’t ‘surprised’
Utah state Rep. Jim Nielson (R) says that he is sponsoring a bill to force divorcing couples to take classes because he says that men are often “surprised” when women want to end the marriage.
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that Nielson had filed a bill that would require couples to take part of mandatory divorces classes even sooner than the law required when Utah became the first state with the mandate in 1994. Nielson would like to see couples take at least half of the $55 two-hour classes at the beginning of divorce process.
While Nielson told The AP that he hoped the classes would reduce the divorce rate in Utah, he was even more specific about his goals earlier this month on an Internet show called DadsDivorce.com.
“The friends that I have that have gone through a divorce, most of the people that I know personally that have gone through that personally are men,” Nielson explained to host Matt Allen. “And my sense, at least from the men that I interact with, is that they’ve usually been surprised by the divorce request, by the filing.”
The lawmaker pointed out that most men were in “the position of the respondent, and the ones that I know generally have also been greatly distressed by it, wished that there had been an opportunity to reconcile and to find a way to reconcile.”
“So if I’m correct that more of the filers are women than men — and that’s based on just anecdotal information — then I think what this course does, which basically mandates that before you file, the filer… has to take this course,” he continued. “That individual — often a woman — will be aware of alternatives, will be aware of the impact, will be aware of the consequences and know what the process will be to his or her family.”
“There are going to be a few cases where that information will make a difference and may actually help a person have second thoughts about whether to pursue the course.”
Watch the video below from DadsDivorce, broadcast Feb. 14, 2014.