S-1467.1  _______________________________________________


                    SENATE JOINT MEMORIAL 8018



State of Washington      57th Legislature     2001 Regular Session


By Senators Hargrove and Swecker


Read first time 02/19/2001.  Referred to Committee on Human Services & Corrections.

Requesting the governor to work to reduce the divorce rate.


    We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:

    WHEREAS, The decision to obtain a divorce is a personal one, often done with the best of intentions for all involved; and

    WHEREAS, While not passing judgment on anyone who chooses to obtain a divorce, it cannot be denied that divorce is an action that impacts not only the spouse seeking the divorce, but also the other spouse, who may not want a divorce, and any children in the family; and

    WHEREAS, The legislature has declared that the family unit is a fundamental resource of American life which should be nurtured, and that a primary goal of public involvement in the lives of children has been to strengthen the family unit; and

    WHEREAS, Studies have indicated that divorce can have a negative impact on many aspects of a child's life.  These studies show that children whose parents divorce have a lower economic well-being, are increasingly the victims of abuse, are involved more frequently in crime and drug abuse, and are more likely to exhibit health, behavioral, and emotional problems.  These studies include:

    (1) A University of Utah study which found that children whose parents are divorced are one-third more likely to smoke as adults than children from intact families, and boys are one-third more likely to have a drinking problem as an adult; and

    (2) A Johns Hopkins University study which found that divorce has a negative effect on the mental health of children, one which can follow them into adulthood; and

    (3) A United States Census Bureau study which found that family income declines an average of thirty-seven percent in families with children after the father leaves, increasing the percentage of families with children in poverty approximately seventeen percent; and

    WHEREAS, On average, seventy-eight divorces occur each day in Washington, forty-one of them involving children;

    NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists respectfully pray that the Governor of the State of Washington support single parents with children and encourage stable families by working to reduce the divorce rate among families with children.

    BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to the Honorable Gary Locke, Governor of the State of Washington.


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