No Classes Required If Parents Allege Fault
No fault divorce in Oklahoma is about to become a bit more complicated for some unhappy couples.
A new Oklahoma law requires some divorcing parents of minor children to take a new class about the impact of divorce on children. Set to take effect Nov. 1, 2014, the law only applies in cases where incompatibility is the stated cause of divorce. In Oklahoma, no-fault divorce is usually one in which incompatibility is listed as the reason for a divorce.
The new law adds a statutorily mandated class to requirements that previously were the discretion of local court districts. Many Oklahoma court districts already require parents to take a class about the impact of divorce on children. In some cases, divorcing spouses are also required by courts to take classes about high-conflict divorce.
Curriculum for the newly mandated classes is also prescribed by law. Under the new law, classes must address:
- The possibility of reconciliation as an optional outcome,
- Short and long term effects of divorce on child well-being,
- Effects of family violence,
- Information about the emotions children may experience during a divorce and how to respond,
- Communication strategies to reduce conflict and facilitate cooperative parenting,
- Availability of resources – including non-profit groups and religious entities – that can “address issues of substance abuse or other addictions, family violence, behavioral health, individual and couples counseling and financial planning.”
The new law provides courts discretion in how the classes will be operated. Some courts could potentially merge the newly required classes with existing parenting class requirements, although there is yet no indication parents will not be required to take – and pay for – both sets of classes. Courts may also allow parents to opt out of the classes for good cause.
Grounds for Divorce in Oklahoma
Before no-fault divorce became routine nationwide, spouses seeking a divorce usually needed to prove some grounds for divorce. Spouses who file for divorce for any cause other than incompatibility would not be required by law to take the newly mandated classes.
Other than the no-fault basis of incompatibility, grounds for divorce in Oklahoma include:
* spousal abandonment,
* pregnancy at the time of marriage by someone other than the husband,
* extreme cruelty,
* fraudulent contracts,
* habitual drunkenness,
* gross neglect of duty,
* incarceration for a felony and
* insanity for five years, with incarceration in a mental institution.
Beyond additional costs and time required to attend classes – and potential benefits from information provided in the classes – the newly mandated programs could have other impacts on divorce proceedings in Oklahoma. Some divorcing partners who prefer not to take the classes could go back to fault-finding in divorce proceedings.
Free Consultation: Tulsa Divorce Attorney
To learn more about no fault divorce in Oklahoma and requirements that apply for divorcing spouses in your particular Oklahoma county, contact the Tulsa divorce attorney at Wirth Law Office. For a free consultation with a Tulsa, Oklahoma divorce lawyer, call Wirth Law Office at (918) 879-1681 or send a written inquiry using the form at the top of this page.