High divorce rates has Oklahoma looking at changes - KOAM TV 7

High divorce rates has Oklahoma looking at changes


Oklahoma has one of the highest divorce rates in the country, and for every 1,000 residents there are 13 divorces. In Ottawa County alone there have been eight couples file for divorce since January 1st. But the hope is to drastically change those numbers thanks in part to, of all things, a proposal.

"It gives people time to think about the decision they've made, lets their emotions, gives them the time to think." 

Norm Cousatte helps lead a divorce care group at the First Baptist Church in Miami, Oklahoma. He, himself is divorced and sees a wide range of couples dealing with issues. He says he supports an Oklahoma Bill that would require couples to wait six months before getting divorced in the state. 

"From the circumstances that I've seen people get into I've had people actually say to me, I wish I could go back and undo some of the decisions I've made," Cousatte said.
Currently couples in the state must only wait three months to finalize a divorce. And according to US Census Data, Oklahoma is right up there with Arkansas, Kentucky and Alabama ranked as second highest divorce rates in the country.

"Sure I think there is a lot of divorce that happens."
Ken Gallon is a Miami Attorney who has seen his share of divorce cases. He doesn't think extending wait times will cut down on divorce rates, only rise divorce costs.
"I don't believe the state of Oklahoma we need six months, it seems like that would extend out the litigation times, the cost for the client," Gallon said.
And State Representative Larry Glenn agrees. He says that even though State Representative Arthur Hulbert hopes it helps strengthen families and give them time to re-think, Glenn says most do that before they set foot into the court house to file. 

"I don't see divorce as something that just happens overnight, and by the time they get to that point, I think it is difficult to reconcile," Glenn said.
But Cousatte doesn't see it that way. And through personal experience as a divorce support group leader, he says sometimes all couples need to work through issues is a little bit of time. 

"They came back and wished they could undo many things, many decisions, and go back and really try to work things out," Cousatte said.

There are some exceptions to the proposed wait extension, things like excessive drinking, drug use or any kind of abuse.

For a link to find a Divorce Care group near you, click here.


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