As I mentioned in my post from last night after the Senate passed House Bill 369, the Shared Parenting bill, there was an amendment proposed on the floor and approved. There are essentially two elements to this amendment:
1. The amendment requires divorcing parents of minor children to attend a four hour seminar on how divorce affects children, focusing substantially on the potential impact of separation or divorce on children. These programs are already in place in many counties, such as my home county of Cobb, and are requirements in those counties before a divorce can be granted.
There are exceptions to the requirement if:
(1) Service of process was satisfied by publication and the whereabouts of one of the parties cannot be determined;
(2) One of the parties to the marriage at the time of the action is serving a sentence in the Department of Corrections;
(3) The youngest child of the parties is within six months of his or her eighteenth birthday;
(4) One of the parties to the proceeding does not live in this state; or
(5) The parties have been living separate and apart for more than five years
2. The amendment requires a waiting period of 120 days from the date of service in divorce cases where the parties are parents of minor children. This is similar to a bill proposed last year, about which I wrote in my prior family law blog. This requirement may be waived by the Court under certain circumstances where there has been family violence.