Topeka A Senate committee set the stage Monday for a debate about the state's role in preserving marriages.
By a 6-4 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed a bill that would permit no-fault divorce only for couples with no dependent children.
No-fault divorce allows couples to end a marriage without one spouse having to allege wrongdoing by the other.
The bill went to the 40-member Senate for consideration. No date for debate has been set.
Sen. Ed Pugh, R-Wamego, said the issue is one that merits serious debate.
State law provides three general grounds for divorce: incompatibility, failure to perform a marital duty, or mental illness or incapacity. There is no requirement that both spouses agree to the divorce.
Under the bill sponsored by Sen. Bob Lyon, R-Winchester, a couple with no dependent children from the marriage living at home still could get what amounts to a no-fault divorce if both were in agreement.
But if there were dependent children from the marriage, or if one spouse objected to the divorce, then the spouse seeking to end the marriage would have to allege one of nine specific grounds which was the case before no-fault divorce was adopted three decades ago.
Sen. David Adkins, R-Leawood, voted against endorsing the bill, saying the government has no right to infringe on the relationship of Kansans by regulating their marriages.
Divorce bill is SB 173.