The Michigan Senate passed a bill Thursday that would require attorneys to wait 21 days after a divorce case is filed before soliciting business from either party.
Sen. Rick Jones, R-Eaton Rapids, is the bill's sponsor. He said some attorneys use newly filed cases to contact defendants who may not yet be aware their spouse is leaving them.
He said that can be a problem in cases involving domestic violence.
"If [the plaintiff] has not yet found a safe place to stay, this can lead to more abuse or threats," Jones said.
Family law attorney Monica Sacks said plaintiffs also may need time to get personal protection orders or other measures in place before a defendant is served papers.
"Statistics show that domestic violence really accelerates at a time when one spouse is attempting to leave," she said. "You have to be very careful with these cases."
Attorneys who go after a divorce case party's business before the three-week waiting period is over could face a misdemeanor conviction and a $1,000 fine for their first violation.
Subsequent offenses could lead to prison time and bigger fines.