One state aiming to lengthen time needed to divorce

What’s a good way to reduce the country’s divorce rate? According to some state lawmakers in Oklahoma, the answer is to increase the waiting period that couples have to endure before a divorce could be acted on. But will this really help matters?

The Oklahoma bill would require a six-month waiting period for most couples. Exceptions include divorces that are due to factors including adultery, child abuse, abandonment and domestic violence. The sponsor of the bill that will be introduced this year in that state’s legislative bodies says he hopes that the extra time will encourage couples to reconcile.

However, not everyone thinks that this is a good idea. If financial pressures play a large role in a couple’s divorce, having to extend the marriage by half a calendar year could serve to exacerbate those problems, rather than resolve them. Additionally, some studies have shown that quicker divorces lead to less chance of domestic violence, so some people fear that a longer divorce could increase the likelihood of violence in a household.

The bill is not certain to pass, but it does raise some important points. In fact, many people who file for divorce have already waited six months, and in many cases longer, hoping that their marital situation will improve. Perhaps having a built-in waiting period could actually encourage people to file for divorce sooner, rather than later, because they know they’ll have to wait.

Regardless of the circumstances, Missouri residents contemplating divorce may wish to contact a family law attorney so that they can map out their individual situation — whether or not they ultimately do file for divorce.

Source: The Norman Transcript, “Okla. bill aims to curb divorce rate,” Jan. 28, 2014

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