Greensboro, NC — Divorce is a painful process for families but when couples want to call it quits in North Carolina they could have to wait even longer before getting out of their marriage.

State Senator Austin Allran (R), who represents Alexander and Catawba Counties is behind proposed changes to amend the “Healthy Marriage Act.” Under the new changes couples would have to wait two years before filing absolute divorce but that’s not all. It would also require couples to complete counseling.

Couples would have to complete courses on communication and the impact of divorce on children. The bill would not require couples to live separate and apart.

Currently couples only have to wait a year before getting a divorce.

Senator Austin Allran from Hickory told us he wants to combat the high divorce rate in the state.

He thinks the current divorce law discourages reconciliation. You have to wait a year for a divorce but you can’t live together during that year of separation.

In Allran’s proposed bill, you would have to wait two years but you’re not allowed to live together during that time. He thinks that plus the counseling would help bring down the state’s divorce rate.

There were also questions that Senator Allran could not answer. He doesn’t know where the money would come from for mandatory counseling. He’s not sure how the law would change for people in abusive relations. Senator Allran said he just wanted to get a dialogue started.

SEL Group Psychotherapist, Nannette Funderburk explained if the extra and counseling would help keep couples together on WFMY News 2 at 6. Click on the video to hear her thoughts.

WFMY News 2/video