Oklahoma law will require class before getting divorce with children
Getting a divorce in Oklahoma will now take an extra step if minor children are involved. The couple will now have to go through an education program before being allowed to divorce.
On Wednesday, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill into law that will require married couples with children younger than 18 and who are seeking a divorce based on incompatibility to pay for and complete the educational program.
State Representative Jason Nelson and Senator Rob Standridge, both Republicans, sponsored the bill.
The class will cover six areas including the impact of divorce on the children.
The parents can attend together or separately, and will have to pay a minimum of $15 and a maximum of $60 to cover the cost. The course must be completed within 45 days of receiving a temporary order from the court.
A judge will have the option to grant a waiver for compelling circumstances.
The bill goes into effect on Nov. 1.
The state will keep track of how many divorces are dismissed after the parties take the course, as well as how many people take the classes and how many actually complete the course.
In a 2011 study, NBC News found Oklahoma to have the highest divorce rate.
The report says, according to the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative, 32 percent of Oklahoma adults who have ever been married have been divorced. The association lists financial troubles as one of the leading causes of divorce in the state.