Family law is one of those areas where you can never be quite certain if you are witnessing a cause or an effect. Because when the law changes, everyone in Oklahoma is subject to the same law, and it’s difficult to see if difference is a result of the change in the law, or that the result would have been the same, and it was coincidental that the change occurred at the same time as law was amended.
The current generation experiences a much higher divorce rate than that of 50 or 60 years ago, and some suggest that this is because of laxer divorce laws. Others would argue that this is due to the stronger position of women in society and that changes in society forced the divorce laws to change.
A lawmaker in Oklahoma has introduced a bill to the state legislature that would require a six-month waiting period for couples wishing to divorce. His goal is a reduction in the state’s divorce rate, which ranks second in the nation.
He feels that “marriage has value” and that it is beneficial to society if families are strengthened. He hopes the extra time will allow couples to reconsider.
While the bill would contain exemptions for domestic violence or child abuse, some experts suggest it may increase cases of domestic abuse.
One judge commented that he does not see the waiting period as causing a problem, but he admitted he has only experienced one case where a couple decided against divorce after they began the process.
Will the waiting period make a real change? We are unsure. Divorce, as a whole, is a very complex business, and why people choose to divorce is as varied as the number of couples who file. If the bill passes, and no other changes occur, we may have an answer in a few years.