OKLAHOMA CITY – When a couple decides to get a divorce, it can be an emotional and difficult experience for both parties.
Last year, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a bill that makes divorce more expensive for Oklahoma couples.
Now, an Oklahoma lawmaker wants to make the process a little harder for certain couples.
House Bill 1277, which was introduced by Rep. Travis Dunlap, would change the grounds for a divorce.
Currently, Oklahoma couples can ask for a divorce for several reasons including abandonment, adultery, impotency, extreme cruelty, fraudulent contract and incompatibility.
However, the bill, which is called the ‘Fairness in Fault Act,’ would do away with incompatibility for certain couples.
Under the proposed bill, the court would not be able to grant a divorce to a couple under the incompatibility claim if there are minor children, the parties have been married for at least 10 years or either party files a written objection to the divorce.
Instead, the couple would have to prove that their marriage couldn’t be saved because of one of the other criteria for a divorce.
The bill could also cause one party to be responsible for the majority of the court costs.
The bill states that if a judge finds that one person caused the ‘dissolution, annulment, or separation’ of the marriage via the criteria for a divorce, then “the court shall order that party to pay the other party’s expenses, including attorney fees.”
If that is the case, “the court shall award only one-quarter of the marital property to that spouse and the other spouse shall retain the remaining three-quarters of the marital property.”
The first reading of the bill is set for Feb. 6.