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Decreasing Divorce

March 25, 2001

* The March 21 commentary "There's Divorce, and Then There's Divorce" makes some good points. However, it does serve to underscore a national bad habit: addressing difficult social issues from the wrong end (i.e., overcrowded prisons). In California, it is astonishingly easy to get married; there is no waiting period and no tests need be taken. Unlike most licensing procedures, which require training and documented experience, a couple merely needs to prove age and single status (and pay a fee) to become a "licensed" pair.

As a therapist and counselor, I urge an enlightened approach to this procedure: a mandatory six months of premarital counseling as a licensing prerequisite. There are myriad public and private mental-health facilities equipped to serve this need in a cost-effective manner. This approach could not but have a diminishing effect on the divorce rate statistics and the family pain reflected within those dismal numbers.

LEE LAWSON

Beverly Hills

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