Oklahoma divorce law is taking steps to reduce the state’s divorce rate by attempting to save failing marriages with a brand new mandate. A new law requires unhappy married couples with underage children to attend a class before allowing them to proceed with a divorce in Oklahoma.
The new law, which is in effect as of November 1st, is designed to reduce the state’s divorce rate and protect children in divorce situations, while ensuring that parents do everything in their power to preserve their relationship before filing for divorce.
Parents of underage children who wish to divorce over incompatibility must attend educational classes that discuss a range of topics, including how divorce affects children, potential child behaviors to anticipate, strategies to reduce co-parenting conflicts, and options for reconciliation.
“I think that it is a good idea, I think parents will think about the divorce and impact that it has on the children and it will help them see the consequences, “ said Teresa Deck, the Director of Counseling at Sunbeam Family Services.
However, concerns are already being raised regarding potential consequences of the law. For victims of abuse or domestic violence, some experts fear that the law may pose a serious threat to safety. Despite its good intentions, the law does not have a specific exemption in place to allow victims of violence to escape an abusive marriage. It does, however, have a “good cause” exemption. Along with deciding how long a couple must attend classes and whether the parties must take classes together or separately, judges have the power to decide when a particular case deserves an exemption from the new law.
The classes will cost between $15 and $60. Both parties must receive a certificate of completion before proceeding with their divorce.