Right now in South Carolina, if a couple wants to get divorced and there's no adultery, physical cruelty, desertion or habitual drunkenness, the couple has to be separated for at least one year. But under a bill now in the South Carolina House of Representatives, that time would be reduced to 150 days.
State Representative Walt McLeod, D-Little Mountain, sponsor of the bill, says, “Tennessee has a rule called ‘irreconcilable differences.' Georgia has ‘irretrievably broken.' Florida has a 90-day timeframe for no-fault divorce. So when we're talking about a no-fault divorce, where there's no dispute, then it's time to just take some action.”
The bill came up for debate Wednesday in a House subcommittee but no vote was taken before members had to adjourn to go to the full House session.
Reverend Eddie Coakley, pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Cayce, is against the bill, saying the one-year waiting period is needed to make sure couples have really thought through their decision to divorce.
He says divorce should be harder to get, not easier. “To me, that sends a message that, as a society, we're not taking marriage as seriously. It should be harder to escape our responsibilities, not easier.”
Because the bill requires a change to the state constitution, two-thirds of the House and Senate would have to approve it, and then voters would have to approve the change.
Georgia doesn't have separation time requirement for divorce, but North Carolina has the same one year requirement as South Carolina.