March 23, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Covenant marriage bill passes Oklahoma Senate 40-5
Article provided by Branch & Hurtt Law Firm, P.C.
Visit us at http://www.branchhurttlaw.com
Oklahomans are divorcing at a higher rate than those of most other U.S. states. According to the National Vital Statistics Reports, in 2011, 5.2 people in Oklahoma out of every 1,000 divorced. Looking at comparable rates in surrounding states, Texas had 3.2, New Mexico 3.3, Missouri and Kansas 3.9 and Colorado 4.4. Only Arkansas surpassed Oklahoma at 5.3. By contrast, Iowa came in at 2.4.
Legal grounds for Oklahoma divorce
Oklahoma law provides several traditional grounds for divorce: adultery, impotency, extreme cruelty, fraud, pregnancy of the wife by another, alcoholism, "gross neglect of duty," imprisonment for a felony, insanity and one spouse getting a divorce outside Oklahoma not valid in the state. The remaining ground is incompatibility, which, according to OKCFOX.COM, is the most cited reason for Oklahoma divorces.
Incompatibility is also much more vague and subjective than any of the other grounds, and sounds most like "no-fault" divorces available in many other states. In some state legislators' opinions, incompatibility is too easy a reason for walking away from a marriage. A movement is building to encourage people to take marriage more seriously by viewing it as a positive, lifelong commitment and by making it harder to get divorced.
Specifically, Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, introduced 2013 Oklahoma Senate Bill Number 105 that would make "covenant marriage" an option in the state. Covenant marriage, sometimes referred to informally as a high-test marriage, is one in which the spouses affirmatively contract to be held to tougher marriage and divorce standards than required of usual state-sanctioned marriages.
Only a handful of other states have enacted some sort of covenant marriage option -- Louisiana, Arizona and Arkansas. Reportedly, people are not flocking to the courthouse in high numbers for covenant marriages in these states.
Sen. Brecheen's covenant marriage bill already passed the state Senate on February 27, 2013 and will be considered by the Oklahoma House. If it became law, the measure would require couples choosing the covenant marriage option to get premarital counseling "emphasizing the nature and purposes of marriages and the responsibilities thereof."
They would also have to file a declaration of intent to enter into a covenant marriage that would emphasize the lifelong nature of the commitment and agree to marital counseling if they have problems staying together.
As originally introduced, Brecheen's bill only allowed five grounds for divorce in a covenant marriage: adultery, spousal or child abuse, abandonment for one year, living apart for one year without reconciliation or fraud in the marriage contract. However, the version of the bill that passed the Senate backed off this more controversial part of the proposal.
The bill as passed addresses incompatibility as a ground for divorce head on by providing that any of the other grounds for divorce would be available for covenant marriages, but that spouses in covenant marriages citing incompatibility would have to receive six hours of counseling within three months. After counseling, if they still wanted to divorce for incompatibility, the divorce could only be granted after a one-year waiting period.
The bill would also establish a procedure for couples already married to legally convert to covenant marriages.
Covenant marriage supporters cite it as a way to increase marital commitment, decrease poverty and improve the lives of children. The Associated Press reports that Oklahoma opponents of the bill frown upon couples being stuck in unwanted marriages and that the concept devalues other marriages.
Consult a family lawyer
Any Oklahoman with questions about marriage or divorce should seek the counsel of an experienced divorce lawyer for sound advice.---
Press release service and press release distribution provided by http://www.24-7pressrelease.com
# # #Read more Press Releases from FL Web Advantage: