At Ewbank, Hennigh & McVay, PLLC we help a lot of people through the difficult divorce process.
Divorce is not easy.
However, here we are in another legislative session, and, as in prior years, Oklahoma’s legislature is trying to make divorces more expensive. HB1277 is the newest attempt to drive costs up and pad divorce statistics in Oklahoma. Let’s face it. These bills are not designed to help Oklahomans. Instead, the intent is to artificially reduce the number of divorces reported in some report so our legislators can point to these bogus numbers about how their efforts are helping Oklahoma families. It’s the typical smoke and mirrors. Frankly, it’s BS.
This bill would require each party pay their own costs and attorney’s fees unless one party can prove the other party caused the divorce by through:
The wife being pregnant by another man at the time of marriage,
Habitual drunkenness or habitual substance abuse,
Gross neglect of duty,
Blah, Blah Blah…
Here’s how it works.
If the wife can prove the man was impotent (just to grab one), then she can get her attorney’s fees and costs awarded to her. Oh wait, there’s more. In addition to her fees, the Judge would be REQUIRED to only give the man 1/4 of the property of the marriage, and give the wife the other 3/4. Maybe the testosterone lobby is pushing this bill?
The bill also has a fun requirement that if the stated reason for the divorce is incompatibility, the family must attend counseling (for which they must pay), and the divorce cannot be finalized for 6 months. Great, we are going to artificially require people to suffer through another 6 months of a failed marriage. I am sure the kids will love that. I bet dinner time would be awkward…
Listen, we make money on divorces. Most people probably think lawyers would jump at the chance to make more money on divorces. We don’t. This bill is bad for people. Our goal is to help our clients gets the best result for their situation. We cannot support anything that artificially makes divorces more difficult for our clients.
You can call your legislature, but it probably won’t do any good. Us voters didn’t know what we were voting on during the criminal reforms last year, so the legislature is actively working through legislation to override our vote. Likewise, our Legislature knows better how to handle our marriages than we do. Uhhmm, Mr. Representative, can I go to the bathroom now?