Oklahoma rep files bill aimed at curbing divorce rate

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Modified: January 27, 2014 at 10:10 am •  Published: January 27, 2014
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MUSKOGEE — An Oklahoma state representative has filed a bill that would increase the waiting period for most Oklahoma couples seeking a divorce.

Rep. Arthur Hulbert, R-Fort Gibson, said the measure is aimed at reducing Oklahoma's divorce rate, which is the second-highest in the country, the Muskogee Phoenix reported (http://bit.ly/1hEehKh ). His measure, filed in advance of the legislative session that begins Feb. 3, calls for a six-month waiting period for most divorces.

"I feel like we have a bill that will help strengthen families and give them time to rethink reconciliation," Hulbert said. "I believe marriages have value, and I think society only benefits if we strengthen the family."

Hulbert said his bill would include exemptions for adultery and cases in which an individual is convicted of child abuse or domestic abuse. The measure also includes exceptions for abandonment, extreme cruelty and habitual drunkenness.

But some researchers question whether lengthening the waiting period would have a positive effect.

Stephanie Coontz, research and public education director for the Council on Contemporary Families, said states that ease divorce laws see a drop in domestic violence and suicide rates among wives.

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