Oklahoma Bill Looks to Limit No-Fault Divorce

divorce, DuPage County divorce attorneyOver the last several decades, the attitudes toward marriage and divorce have evolved significantly in many parts of the country. Many states, including Illinois, have made ending an unhappy or unhealthy marriage easier than ever before, helping spouses escape what could be an ultimately damaging situation. In at least one state, however, a number of lawmakers believe that getting a divorce has become too easy and have introduced legislation that would limit the availability of no-fault divorce for its citizens.

According to recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, the divorce rate in the state of Oklahoma is among the highest in the nation. An estimated one-third of all marriages in Oklahoma end in divorce and about 13.4 percent of the state’s population is currently divorced. For some in the state legislature, these types of numbers are unacceptable. Representative Travis Dunlap, R-Bartlesville, has introduced a bill that he believes will encourage married people to fight for their marriage rather than giving up with things get tough.

A Tough Sell in Modern Times

Dunlap’s measure would make a divorce on the grounds of “incompatibility”—otherwise known as irreconcilable differences—available only to couples who have been married less than 10 years and have no minor children together. Both spouses would also need to agree to the divorce after waiting six months and undergoing mandatory marriage counseling. Currently, Oklahoma does not place such limits on a no-fault divorce and offers a number of fault-based grounds for a which a spouse may also seek a divorce.

Critics of the bill have expressed concern that the measure will actually undo progress and create dangerous situations for some families. Representative Emily Virgin, D-Norman, observed that the entire reason the state approved no-fault divorce in the first place was to allow people in bad marriages some recourse. Making it more difficult to get a divorce is not the answer, she believes, especially for women and children in potentially abusive environments.

The Law in Illinois

Illinois has also made amendments to its no-fault divorce laws in recent years, but the changes took the law in the opposite direction of that intended by the proposed measure in Oklahoma. Beginning last year, a divorce in Illinois will only be granted on the basis of irreconcilable differences. Mandatory waiting periods were eliminated, allowing those who need to get out of an unhealthy marriage to be able to so quickly and efficiently.

If you live in Illinois and have questions about no-fault divorce, an experienced DuPage County divorce lawyer can help you find the answers. Contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. for a confidential consultation today.

 

Sources:

http://247wallst.com/special-report/2015/05/15/the-states-with-the-largest-and-smallest-divorced-populations/4/

http://kfor.com/2017/02/21/this-is-a-ruse-controversial-bill-passes-out-of-committee/

http://www.news9.com/story/34560933/ok-bill-seeks-to-eliminate-incompatibility-as-a-reason-for-divorce

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=0

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