When couples in the state of Oklahoma want to get divorced, it is difficult enough, especially if children are involved. There are many grounds for dissolution of marriage including abandonment, adultery, extreme cruelty, etc. Probably the most common grounds used for most couples in Oklahoma today are “incompatibility,” and “irreconcilable differences.”
The new proposed bill in the Oklahoma Legislature that could change that option, House Bill 1277, “The Fairness in Fault Act” was introduced by Representative Travis Dunlap. Again, for some couples this would eliminate the “no fault divorce” option, if passed. This bill would apply to couples if minor children of the marriage are involved, if the two parties have been married for at least ten years or if either of the two parties filed an objection to the divorce. The couple would have to prove the marriage is not able to be saved through mandatory marriage counseling for six months.
The bill states that one of the parties could be ordered by the judge, if found to be at fault in the marriage, to pay court costs, attorney fees, and the other spouse could be awarded three-fourths of the marital assets.
Couples could use the option of incompatibility and irreconcilable differences only if they were married ten years or less, there are no minor children of the marriages and if neither party objected to the divorce.
Oklahoma has one of the highest divorce rates in the country; however, this bill does not take into account the number of women and their children in abusive relationships and family situations where a divorce should be granted as quickly and painlessly as possible.
The bill passed the House Judiciary-Civil and Environmental Committee and is waiting to be heard on the House Floor.