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Could a 4-hour marriage conflict course help divorcing parents?

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Parents with young children would have to go through a four-hour course before their divorce can proceed under a new bill put before Minnesota lawmakers.

Under the proposal introduced to the Senate, parents of minors must attend a "marriage dissolution education program" within 60 days of filing for divorce if they want the divorce to go through.

Although the primary aim of the bill is to ensure divorces proceed with minimal conflict, Democratic Sen. John Marty told the Associated Press it is possible that the courses could also help parents work through their problems and lead to possible reconciliations.

According to the bill, the courses would be designed to ensure parents are being sensitive to children affected by the marriage break-up. It would also talk them through financial and custody issues they may face.

Not everyone would have to take the course. Couples who can't afford it or don't speak the language used in the program would be excused, and it can also be waived if it's decided it's not in the child's best interests.

The Associated Press says that similar bills have been suggested before but not made it through the House. This time, though, Sen. Marty – who proposed the bill – says issues have been worked out.

He says that the bill has a bipartisan list of sponsors.

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