Couples in Wisconsin could remarry sooner after a divorce; bill seeks to eliminate 6-month waiting period

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Those who wish to remarry after a divorce would be able to do so sooner rather than wait six months under a bipartisan bill.

Wisconsin law currently requires divorcees to wait at least six months before remarrying, the proposal would eliminate that timeframe.

The state is unique as it’s only one of three states with a waiting period, according to Rep. Cindi Duchow (R-Town of Delafield), the lead sponsor of the bill.

“There are some people that think it’s going to encourage divorce, it’s not going to do that,” Duchow said. “If you're going to get divorced, you're going to get a divorce and it shouldn't take months to do so.”

Wisconsin is one of seven states with such a waiting period still on the books, in addition to a minimum of 120 days an individual must wait after filing before a divorce is finalized.

The bill passed the Assembly last year on a bipartisan vote, but it was never called for a vote in the Senate. Duchow has pushed for the passage of the proposal for three years but it continues to face opposition from one group, the Wisconsin Family Council, who believes the six-month waiting period is “prudent,” especially for families with children.

“The waiting period allows people to cool off, get details worked out, get some premarital counseling and make sure those kids are adjusting to a new life,” said Julaine Appling, president of the Wisconsin Family Council.

Rep. Lisa Subeck, a Democrat who represents Madison, argues it shouldn’t be the government's role to dictate when a couple can marry.

“Consenting adults should be able to make the decision that is right for them and their families, and this includes marrying the person they love when the time is right for them,” said Subeck.

Appling has asked lawmakers to consider an amendment to the bill to reduce the waiting period to three months, instead of eliminating it.

“If you're going to reduce the waiting period, don’t eliminate it, let's take it down to three months or something like that, but there has been no conversation towards that,” Appling said.

If the bill passes, it would not interfere with the 120-day period an individual must wait after filing for a divorce.

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