In 2018, the Assembly Family Law Committee held a public hearing and voted AB-521 to the full assembly where it passed. The bill, which would have changed the waiting period after divorce before remarriage, was not acted on by the Wisconsin Senate and died at the close of the legislative session. However, this year a new bipartisan bill that would eliminate the six-month waiting period for remarriage after divorce is working its way back into the legislature. This time, the bill seems to have more support. So, is Wisconsin ready to give up its 6-Month remarriage law?
In early January 2020, the Committee on Family Law approved the proposal for AB-439. Under current Wisconsin law, a person cannot remarry until six months after his or her divorce is final. The proposal is to eliminate the waiting period, thereby allowing people to marry whenever they choose after their divorce is over. Authors of the bill argue that the waiting period does not discourage or stop divorce from occurring.
Presently, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Nebraska are the only states with a six-month waiting period. Alabama has a sixty-day waiting period, and Texas and Kansas have thirty-day waiting periods. The other U.S. states do not impose this requirement on their citizens. In a recent article, State Rep. Cindi Duchow, R-Pewaukee, who co-authored the bill, said that there is no statistical data that making people wait, keeps divorce rates low. Rep. Duchow went on to comment that “In fact, Oklahoma has one of the highest divorce rates in the country. Iowa, with no waiting period, has one of the lowest divorce rates.”
Bill opponents argue that the waiting period is better for children who need time to adjust to their parents not being together. However, Rep. Duchow argues that parents, rather than the government, should make decisions about what is best for their own children.