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WATCH YOUR LEGISLATORS: DANGEROUS BILLS SEEM MORE PLENTIFUL THIS YEAR

Well, it’s that time of the year again.  Legislators are running amuck,  introducing crazy bills they are trying to get enacted into law.  One of the most important things you can do as a voting citizen is to be aware of the bills that are being introduced into your state house.  After all, change in the courts will need to come from these lawmakers.  Knowing what they are doing is very helpful, especially when they are trying to keep social workers and psychologists employed by trying to pass bills like the one below.  Google “legislative bills for 2011 in (insert your state here).”

If a woman (or man) is trying to escape a bad situation, the worst thing they can do is force the couple into counseling.  The situation can become dangerous…it did in my situation.  It is not in the best interest of the children to have them abused after the abusive parent leaves a forced counseling session frustrated.  The bill below, LB 408, is in Nebraska.  If you are from Nebraska, and think this is a dangerous bill (hint: IT IS), watch for any committee hearings on this bill.  Speak out about it.  It may be your own life you are saving.  Those in other states…please look into what your elected officials are doing, and see if they are doing their job for all the people they represent.

Divorce counseling bill introduced

By John Schreier
WORLD-HERALD BUREAU

Published Thursday January 13, 2011

LINCOLN — The road to divorce for couples with children might become a lot longer under a bill introduced Thursday in the Legislature.

State Sen. Tony Fulton of Lincoln introduced Legislative Bill 408, which would give judges the option of sending married couples with minor children to marriage counseling before being granted a divorce.

It’s one of three judicial options that Fulton proposes in LB 408. The others are continuing divorce proceedings for no longer than six months, in hopes of reconciliation, or taking other actions deemed in the best interests of the parents and children.

Fulton’s desire to address divorce stems from his view that family stability is important to society.

“A strong marriage is healthy for the children who are brought up in that marriage, certainly,” he said. “A strong marriage is also healthy for those two who are in the marriage.”

However, Stephanie Payne, a Lincoln lawyer specializing in family and divorce law, says most couples ­she deals with — especially those with children — have already taken steps to save their marriages.

“I believe Nebraskans should freely enter marriage and have the good sense to know when to end it,” she said. “I don’t think people end marriage lightly, especially those with children.”

In 2009, 6,084 couples divorced in Nebraska, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, and 51.5 percent of divorcing couples had children younger than 19 years old.

Dr. Dave Robinson, a family therapist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said he was intrigued by the bill’s potential.

“The idea behind it sounds interesting, sounds helpful,” said Robinson, the president of Nebraska’s chapter of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. “But we need two people really willing to work for it.”

The bill also would give courts the authority to require marriage counseling in divorce actions where no minor children are involved, if one spouse believes the marriage can be saved.

While Fulton expects opponents of his bill to cite the costs of therapy, which can run as high as $120 per hour, he points to increased violence in Omaha as a societal toll of broken families.

“Certainly one of the factors has to do with a stable family environment,” Fulton said. “I hope folks in Omaha see there is some wisdom in having strong marriages and healthy marriages.”

Contact the writer:
john.schreier@owh.com

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