South Carolina Separation Time for Divorce Amendment (2014)

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The South Carolina Separation Time for Divorce Amendment will not appear on the November 4, 2014 ballot in South Carolina as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure would have permitted couples to divorce after 150 days of separation.[1]

As of 2014, the state constitution requires a separation period of one year before a no-fault divorce can be permitted.

The amendment was introduced into the South Carolina State Legislature as House Bill 3169.[2]

Background

South Carolina was the last state to legalize marriage divorce, but only on the grounds of desertion, adultery, physical abuse, or habitual drunkenness. In 1969, the law allowed for no-fault divorces, with a required separation period of three years. A decade later the separation period was shortened to one year.[3]

Support

Supporters

Arguments

House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister (R-24), who is also a family court attorney, argued that forcing couples to remain married only leads to more aggravation and further harms children. He said, "We should be looking at ways to make marriages better, not hold you into one you don't want to be in. It's too late for the General Assembly to say, 'Well, we're just going to make you and sentence you to a year and maybe you'll reconcile."[3]

Opposition

Opponents

Arguments

  • Rep. Ralph Kennedy (R-39) argued, "Isn't this an example of a slippery slope we're going down? Five years from now, is it going to be 3 months? In 15 years are we going to have drive-through divorces because they get in a fight that night?"[3]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the South Carolina Constitution

The proposed amendment was required be approved by a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the South Carolina Legislature to be placed on the ballot. The measure never came up for a vote.[2]

See also

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References